To Heal from Emotional Damage Know what the Damage Was


the truth about neglect and child abuseIf there is ONE place that I recommend starting the emotional healing process, it is starting with the damage.  That might sound easy, but I had to actually find out what “the damage” to me was. 

I had to find out how I got broken.  What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys were and those were the keys that led to freedom. 

I remember when I realized that my depressions and dissociative issues came from somewhere; I sat stunned, repeating to myself over and over ~ What happened to ME?

I had to look at the roots. I thought that I was born depressed.  But the more I thought about it, how could that be?? There were actual events that caused damage and my depressions were in fact related to those events! I just had to see it. I had to finally SEE it. 

The biggest obstacles in my way were avoiding looking at how I used by others, how I was objectified and not considered to be equally human, and how I was failed by others. By avoiding looking at the truth about that, I was able to excuse the damage they caused.  I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.

When I tell stories about teachers who were bullies or outsiders who devalued or abused me, I get a huge response. It is much easier to face the truth about someone outside of the family that hurt me and damaged me than it is to face the truth that my parents let me down, but the truth is that my parents knew about the bullying and the way it was effecting me, (I was sick in bed for months) and they avoided doing anything about it until I was so sick that the Dr whose care I was under, figured it out and MADE them do something about it.  As I have written before, my parents tried to resist the Doctor, but he threatened to get a court order on my behalf.

If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying “so what” if my parents were “sick”. They did a lot of damage with their “sickness” and instead of looking at them and making excuses for them, it was time to look at the damage ~ to call it like it is ~ and heal from it. EVEN if it makes them angry; even if it hurts them; even if they rejected me and even though they deny it, lie about it and don’t agree with me or validate my truth. They started covering their butts when I was a baby, why would now be any different? It finally had to be about me or I would have ended up just like them; dysfunctional, sick, chronically depressed and unhappy.

It was one thing to face the damage that the teacher herself caused to me. That was the easy part. It was way harder to face how much emotional damage was caused to me because my parents were unwilling to act on the information that they got, (even from the doctor) in favor of saving face in the community.

My parents were still discounting me and devaluing me when I was a grown woman married and with 3 children. My father was still disinterested in me or in my life and didn’t seem to acknowledge that I was alive. His phone calls were still all about him. No matter what was going on in my life, he switched the subject in order to talk about himself and what was going on in his life. Every phone call or visit from him was a painful reminder that I was not valid or important to him.  

I was in my 40’s and my mother was still accusing me of enticing her boyfriends when I was a teenager and how it was because I had a crush on one of her boyfriends when I was just turning 14 was what caused him to come to my room in the night and molest me. My mother was still putting me down and accusing me of being the biggest problem that she ever had.  I was not allowed to have a voice, I was not allowed to look at the truth; the fog spin that she created was way too thick for me to see through it.

I was getting really tired of carrying the entire burden of the relationship with my parents. There was no pay off. They still invalidated me.

My biggest fear was that my parents would reject me if I faced the truth.

The truth is that my parents rejected me when they didn’t take care of me in the first place. They rejected me when they refused to hear me and silenced my voice and instead protected the people hurting me. They rejected me when they called me “dramatic, and a story teller”.  They rejected me when the way the rest of the world saw them, was more important than I was.  They were still rejecting me in the exact same ways. That is what I had to face. That was the damage.

I had to start by facing the damage.  The truth is that both my parents were broken. I had to finally say “SO WHAT?”  Whatever happened to them did not excuse or make up for what happened to me and knowing about how hard “they had it”, didn’t help me to heal. There was no solution in realizing that my parents were abused and devalued too. There was no solution in knowing that my mother suffered from chronic depression. It didn’t cancel the way that I was treated.

I had to stop running from the truth. I stopped accepting that depression was a “gene” that I was born with and instead, face the roots of my distress. In order to heal, I had to find out how I got broken.  What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys to emotional healing were hidden and those were the keys that led to freedom from depression, low self esteem, dissociative identity disorder, and many other issues that I had. 

Depressions, dissociative identity, illnesses and addictions all manifested in my life as a result of not being protected, emotional neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse and spiritual abuse.  The roots of all of these were grounded in being unloved in the true definition of love.

Finding and facing the damage led me to learning the truth about my value. Self love and self esteem finally became possible when I faced where the broken began.

Please share your thoughts on facing the damage.

There is freedom on the other side of broken

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


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Categories : Self Esteem



Wow!…This post really hits home for me. It’s like it’s written for me. I’ve been thinking about these same issues in regards to MY Family. They were responsible for my damaged self esteem & worth. For so many years, since a child and I’m now 43, I’ve carried the burden/baggage, with blaming my Depressions & Anxiety on a “chemical imbalance”, which I was told by my mom at 15. I’ve been on various meds too, which my depressions are med resistant to. I spent some time in an Inpatient Psych unit when I was a teen, due to my depressions & low self-esteem. My mom “chalked it up to peer pressure”, in her words.

I knew it was more than that! That was her way of saving face to other people. I just couldn’t express that then, and I was ashamed I needed help. After I was discharged home from the hospital at 15, I remember my dad telling my brother & sister, who are younger than me, that I’m “weak”. The message again, is I’m the problem. It’s not until the last few years, that I’ve turned the tables per say, by looking at THEY are the problem by putting me down & pushing me around. Not acknowledging my feelings- I’m “too sensitive”.

All the negative statements you have talked about in your posts,I can relate. I see the mistreatment more clearly thru a different lens. My parents are damaged too by all kinds of abuse but, it’s not an excuse. I’ve always tried to UNDERSTAND & OVEROOK their bad behavior. Anyway, they have REJECTED me, in so many ways. Our relationship??? is a one-way street with me reaching out. I’m tired & sick of doing that! Your posts inspire me!

I’m focusing on my healing!….My counselor thinks that I have forgiven them, and I don’t hold a grudge. Well, after reflecting on this, I think I’ve overlooked many things to continue having SOME RELATIONSHIP, which does not serve me or my kids well!….It breaks my heart, that I’m Rejected by My Family, but they are the WRONG people for me….I could not say that as a child & throughout adulthood, but I’m saying it now! MY survival does not depend on them! My life and well-being depends on ME! Thanks for listening to me rambling again….
Sincerely, SMD


Break it down for us Darlene! Go girl! I am standing up clapping for you!!!!! XOXO


Once again, this rings bells for me.
One of the most devastating realisations for me was that my parents – my mother and my father – were abusive of me as a child. Sins of omission – neglect, as well as actively abusive – making me drink strong alcohol, emotionally manipulative, jealous and belittling, ignoring, and so on and so on. My narcissistic father set me up for being abused by other men, if only by absenting himself from his parental responibility and role. He left me with no safe male role model by which to measure other men. My mother was cold and disengaged.
This is where the original damage was done – they abandoned their jobs as parents.
When I was abused outside of the home it was years before they noticed, and then only because I spoke out of turn and inadvertently disclosed.
As psychiatric nurses they definitely knew about the effects of child neglect and no doubt thought they were doing a fine job, they had lots of excuses for their behaviour – they never noticed how lonely and afraid I was, except to tell me I was being oversensitive. And that continued well into my adult life.
My mother died 18yrs ago next month, and my father died 4yrs ago. It was liberating! SO what if I fell apart 3yrs ago? Finally it was safe to do so. I had better supportive friends and a family of choice, and I found great therapists. I can do it now – its taken decades to get to this point, I’m not letting this chance pass me by….


I know i have looked at most if not all of the damage caused by my parents (almost all of the abuse i suffered was from my parents) and i find myself continually working on forgiveness because i know if i dont forgive them their trespasses against me then neither will God forgive my trespasses of others. Its so hard knowing that i was mistreated and abused but yet i have to forgive them for what they did. I know that if i hold on to the anger and resentment and bitterness it will eat me alive and so i work on letting it go and releasing it and forgiving them. I think its the hardest thing to do. working through the pain and hurt is difficult enough but then forgiving what they did has been very hard for me. forgiveness was never really modeled to me and not really talked about. I have had to learn what true forgiveness really means and am still working on it. I know i cannot be completely free unless i acknowledge what was done and then forgive my parents. I will continue to persevere until i no longer have any bitterness or anger towards them or anyone else !


Wow Darlene, Light Bulb Moment!!! You wrote: “I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.”


In reading that, for the first time I played out in my head: What would have happened to me if I “complained?” Who in the world knows??? Given the propensity for violence coupled with the ever present unpredictability…IT’S NO WONDER I DIDN’T ROCK THE BOAT (slapping forehead!) This makes so much sense!!!

All too often, the term “survivor” gets tossed around so much that I think it looses some of its meaning…but really…when you get right down to the brass tax of it – that’s EXACTLY what it was in every sense of the word: Survival. I did what I had to do (or not do…in this case “complain”) because I just couldn’t RISK the unpredictable consequences.

This makes so much sense. NO WONDER I did what I had to do because I didn’t have a damn choice in the matter! Nope. No choice. Not one.

Boy, does this ever help in cutting myself some well needed slack already and letting myself COMPLETELY off the hook!

Which, by the way…is exactly what your blog is: Off The Hook! (pun intended.) 🙂

Thank you for being so blunt in just telling it like it is. It is both rare and refreshing, not to mention liberating!!!

I actually feel lighter. Like a weight has been lifted. Thank you.


I had to keep reminding myself (sometimes I still have to) that THEY have a choice. I never slammed the door in fact they walked away from me. I know people who told their parents how they had felt all their lives and the parents did not choose separation! They chose to work on the relationship! My parents have a choice too and they chose to lose me.
Thank you for sharing! YAY that you are focusing on healing. Be careful about getting stuck on the forgiveness topic. For me that came later and I am so glad that I was able to set it aside for the few years that the healing process (MINE) was intense.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Deirdre
LOL ~ Thank you!!


Hi Libby
Your comment here could be a whole blog post on its own ~ there is that much in it. This was the truth that set me free, and yes, the most devastating realisation for me too. There is this idea that I still have trouble articulating ~ that so many adults think that kids are not really people ~ that this neglect and emotional abandonment is not going to have any effect on a child. I was so afraid to see the truth about my parents… I had to think about “why” I was so afraid to face that they were neglectful and abusive. (because I got rejection mixed up with death ~ my death)
I totally understand that you felt “safe enough” to fall apart after then were both gone. Wow… great comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
I got stuck on the forgiveness thing for YEARS before I found freedom and wholeness and escape from the way the damage from my parents defined me. I came to understand a different version of forgiveness. I also believed that I “had to forgive” so that I would be forgiven… but it doesn’t make sense to me anymore. In the first place, my parents don’t want to stop treating me this way and I had to do the healing and look at the truth about my belief system (as it had grown within the damage) without muddying the water by keeping the “must forgive” card at the front of the whole thing. Forgiveness came to me naturally, as a result of the healing work… it was born out of my newly found mental health and freedom. I didn’t focus on it at all, I just realized one day that the hurt was gone and the anger was no longer there. I was scared to put this concept aside, thinking God would reject me too, like everyone else did, but today I realize that I had been taught about an abusive God all my life according to the way that people wanted to control me. The more that I studied the Bible (through the grid of health and the true definition of love) the more I realized that God was on my side all along and that I had misunderstood forgiveness all along.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Brenda
This was a huge light bulb moment for me too. Some breakthroughs are hard because we are so used to looking through the survivor mode grid. Our minds tell us it still isn’t safe to look at the truth, because when we were children, that truth was equal to a death sentence.
Love your comments,
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Awareness is definitely the key to healing and to change of any kind. It sounds so simple to say that but it isn’t always. We have to stop suppressing feelings, emotions and sometimes memories because we can truly see a picture as it really is. We have to strip away denial and let go of hope that the past will ever change. It doesn’t. We can’t move forward with life and healing until we admit that what happened to us really did happen to us. We have to let go of our childhood coping behaviors that no longer work for us as adults. Awareness is the first step in healing.


Darlene, The hardest part of all was figuring out why I was the way I was and what caused it. There were so many barriers to the truth. When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t even understand my crazy anxiety as being anxiety, let alone why I felt that way. I used to think I was having premonitions of horrible things about to happen and I didn’t understand the way I felt was because of terrible things that had already happened. My family of origin made me feel that I was just bad to the core and if I changed me, then everything would be fine. That and forgiving people for things that were never so much as even, named. Then I tried the medical approach to my anxiety and depression, after I understood it as such. They said I was born deffective and nearly killed me and destroyed the family I created by given me all kinds of pills. They kept increasing the meds but I was still anxious and depressed. They didn’t work because I wasn’t a defect. I was deeply wounded and never had what I needed to heal, truth. There came a day when it all clicked and I began to listen to me about why I was so damaged. Like you, that was the beginning of actually doing something that worked. I don’t have long periods of depression anymore and I only have a little of my crazy anxiety left. Truth is amazing stuff!



p.s. I just read your comment and the phrase “adults don’t think children are people” popped out at me because that’s what I wrote about yesterday. I don’t know if you heard about the little girl in the U.S. who’s mother and grandmother forced to run laps in the yard, with no water for three hours until she collapsed and died. I was so angry and so, I don’t know the name for it, that feeling makes me want to cry even now, but I’ve had enough of people treating kids the way they do. I’ve just had enough. Those of us who know what it is like to survive this crap have to start talking, and talking loud! I’m tired of the nightly news report on the atrocities committed against children and most everyone, just yawning. There is a silent holocaust against children taking place all around us and it has been going on for a very long time.



Hi Patricia
Yes! These are great points! (everyone please read what Patricia says in comment # 10) I want to highlight what you said about letting go of the hope that the past will ever change. Such a good point and it sounds so logical, like of course we all KNOW that, but it is amazing what we do to try and avoid facing that fact.
Thanks for adding your voice here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
Comment #11 ~ once again I hope everyone reads your comment!
I didn’t understand what any of my feelings were either. Looking back I never had permission to have my feelings, so no wonder I didn’t understand any of them. Thank you for adding your voice here too!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. I will check out your blog about this poor girl.. I had not heard about that. My goodness, this kind of stuff is so horrible and yet it is common!
When I read just the tiny account you just gave about this kid dying as a result of the punishment that she was forced to endure, I can’t believe how much hate mail I got for disagreeing with the father who shot his daughters laptop! I just want to scream… “what is WRONG with people” but actually, I think I already know…
Hugs, Darlene


Everyone ~ to read Pams blog post about this girl just click on her name above her comments and that link will take you to her blog.


I´m really glad you wrote this post because I always felt like my attempts at finding out why I was so messed up were dismissed as “compulsively digging in the past”, “searching were there is nothing to find” (my mother), or, worst of all, “hiding behind the past” (my sister). Even my former therapist insisted that we focus on “now”: “How are you feeling NOW? How does this make you feel NOW? What are your problems NOW?”

It isn´t facilitated by the fact that I´m not even sure if there really is anything to find. I don´t know if I was damaged in any way or if it is something about me. My mother says I was always “so sensitive”. My sister seems to have turned out alright. I was spoiled in many ways, I never had to do any chores, I was never punished. And yet I cannot accept my mental health issues and my difficulties in life as something that hit me randomly. I need to find out why I have them. I´m glad you validate this need.


Thanks for your earlier comments Darlene.
I thought about what you wrote in your response. I can remember being left at home one time, while they went out for the evening. They didn’t return when they said they would and I was besides myself with worry. It was overwhelming, the fear that they would not come back….that something had happened to them. I thought I would die – you are so right – rejection=death. I cannot remember being rejected – but I sure wasn’t included in the sense that my emotional needs were met even a little bit. Because I was an only child my parents were scared I would be spoiled – I think they went the other end of the spectrum.
My conscious memories of my childhood have definitely been highly edited (by me as much as anyone) to shield me from the truth. My conscious memories are of long hot summers where I was very happy playing outside….. actually ALL of my memories are of me OUTSIDE of my family home – at the stables, in the woods, etc. I ran wild a lot of the time – to me, it was pretty wonderful, and in many ways it was – I was lucky to live in soem wonderful countryside. But it does disguise what wwas really going on in my life. This was remarked upon by three other people, friends or therapists, at different times in my adult life. Each spotted that I was NOT a happy child. I didn’t know what they were talking about…..
I have since realised that they recognised what I could not at that time. Interestingly, I have worked professionally with adults who have been abused – and felt deep sorrow for what they went through, empathy for their struggle to survive – and STILL not woken up to my own history. All the while with my Mum and Dad commenting negatively about why I chose to work with such people….! They must have felt so threatened!
As my healing progresses, more memories surface. Recently I have begun to wonder about things I had previously discounted….. The truth will out, that much is clear to me – my body and mind are slowly but surely releasing things into my consciousness as I become strong enough to face them. And sometimes I want to shout ENOUGH! Sometimes I think I wish I had never started this … but then I can say honestly, that I am sick and tired of the lies, the repression – I want to have a better life than the one I have been half-living for som long.


Hi Libby,

having only memories of certain parts of your childhood is something I know very well. I just recently realized that I didn´t have as many memories of my childhood as I thought. When I remembered fourth, fifth or sixth grade, for example, I thought: “Oh, yeah, that was the time when I was always hanging out with friend A, and at school I had teacher B.” But that´s only about half my life. It just completely evaded me that I was also living at home with my family and that I don´t remember much about that, even though it was the time when my father moved out.

Being worried that something happened to my parents, particularly my mother, is also something I´m very familiar with. Quite often when my mother went out in the evening and didn´t return on time, she found me crying and distraught.


Hi Libby,
I can relate to a lot of what you are saying in your comment #16. I too have worked professionally in the mental health field, with traumatized individuals. I felt empathy, for what they had to endure and how they struggled to function and survive in their lives. I knew I had my issues & problems, but was not fully conscious of the damage I endured in my life. I was broken, but a wounded healer to them.

My mom made negative comments about why would I work with “those people”. My mom actually said, you probably get “too emotionally involved”…well, I do care deeply and identified with their pain.I know I made a difference in their lives, by being supportive with their goals and meeting their needs. My mom must have felt threatened by my strength in helping others. She was lacking empathy in that area!

As I’m healing, more memories & connections are coming up for me too. I like the clarity, but it brings confusion to the truth I’ve believed for so long. It’s a mess that I have to clean up, in order for ME to feel better & live in the truth.
Thanks for sharing!


hi “theweirdphilosopher”
People will say all sorts of things to get others NOT to look into the past. My question is “WHY?” Why would they care if there is nothing to find? and even total strangers to your family history will tell you not to look back there, because they have a fear of looking back into their own history too. If you find your answers “back there” perhaps they might have to “look back too”…
What do you remember about “why” your mother said you were so sensitive… that might give you a clue… even a fragment of a memory is enough to make a beginning.
Hugs, Darlene

Libby and all who are in this particular discussion;
I was here too; very few memories, not sure what the heck was “wrong” with me… but there were things I did remember that I just didn’t realize were significant. That was why I looked at anything I could remember…
I have very few memories of school. I have one 3 memories in kindergarten but only one (traumatic one too) in grade one. None in grade 2. One in grade 3. And on it goes… I began to wonder WHY? Why do I have more memories of kindergarten? I never wondered why my memories were so few, but it became significant as I began the process and many memories surfaced for me too. Little pieces of the puzzle emerged. I used them to figure out what i believed about me.
about wishing it would stop ~ I totally relate to that too… sometimes I just wanted to scream ~ stop the world, I want to get off… but today I am glad that I didn’t press for that escape! I see so many people get stuck in the middle of the process.. when freedom is closer than I thought!!!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, It’s exactly what you said, they don’t think children are people. They see them as something they own, to do with as they please. “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” Our culture has a very low value of human life and children are the least valued human beings of all.



theweirdphilosopher, Neglect is a form of abuse and lack of discipline is one form of neglect. It took me a long time to understand that I was as much of a victim of what my parents didn’t do as what they did that was abusive. I think emotional neglect by my alcoholic parents is the root of many of the mental health issues I used to have. Matter of fact, I know it is because things have gotten better since I understand what happened to me.

Your family sounds so much like mine, “You have to quit living in the past.” “You remember all the bad things.” “You have to forgive.” Only they never said they were sorry, for anything. “You feel too much.” “You are so over-sensitive.” I used to believe them but now I see them as being damaged and not able to feel enough. I always bought that they were all mentally healthy and I was the defect. Then one day a close friend of mine said, “Pam, I think you’re really pretty healthy and it’s your family that is mentally ill.” She’s right. Not that I didn’t have problems from the way that I was treated, I did and I still have some things to work on but I’m the only one who tried to get better. They don’t or won’t or can’t face the fact that there is something wrong with them and if they never take any responsibility, they’ll never get better.



i really wish i could lie in a whole and just sleep my life away. really my life is so much of an effort and i hate living it, expecially thuis way. people say that depression is an illness, as tho its supposed to make me feel removed from it but ive had it so long i cant see life without it. im not even sure i wish to be in life at all. im lying, i dont want to live period. its funny how i havnt slept properly in ages bcoz of lifes responsibilities but i dont want to do any of this. i just want to sleep in a hole and just cower away in a fetal position and let the blanket try and provide some type of comfort to me. no one else. im always on the outside looking in. people live their lives and i dont fit in. this thing called relationships is so foreign to me. Where is GOD? WHERE IS HE???*ANGER*


Hi Darlene,

thanks for your reply. I think my mother´s comment referred to me getting upset when people yelled at me or at each other. My father and my sister used to yell a lot. She might have been referring to other things as well, but she has a tendency to be very unclear in her statements.

There was a time when I wondered if I had DID and I asked my mother if anything dramatic had happened in the first five years of my life. Now, normally my mother listens to everything I say the way a cliché therapist does: Neutral face, nodding, “uh huh”, “uh huh”, “oh really?”. Now, though, there was a subtle, but remarkable change in her. “No way.” she said in a very determined voice. “You can absolutely forget about that. There was nothing.” When I commented on that change, she replied: “I just don´t want you to search where there is nothing to be found!” I never quite bought that, but I can´t prove her wrong, either. Again, I´m really glad I found your website.


Dear Darlene Hello.

Every second every minuit hour day week month year and ”DECADES” My heart and soul sit weeping while desperately teying to FACE THE STARK TRUTH”. The reality off gross Inhumanity in my life.

Darlene our experiences are all unique to one’s self. yet every time you share with us. ME, ME ME. Not quite all ME. Ye so much off what you experienced and the way you express it. It’s like you are writing my book for me Darlene. As for my worst nightmare Teacher, O.M.G. How I HURT. As for my father who turned tail on approaching the school all yhose lost decades ago. well he sure lwet me down. And then years later my mother forcing me back to school in the afternoon’s when I was suffering badly yet again. and her years of Over ”chastising” As a Psychiatrist once put it in his useless report. again so so let down.

Darlene my own unique mind just cant yet quite make sense of the enormity of abuses I have been enduring and the shocking number of near death experiences I have had. the serious injuries, the life long illness which attracted and still does so much unbearable discrimination. Odes of ”SURVIVAL”. I’m working on the it Darlene WHY WHY WHY. Is the first obsticle the second is preventing it further Re your Rejection Paragraph which describes my housing situation. my abusers being protected to save their false good name.

Darlene I Have one specific obsessive thought which began in a nightmare many years ago. the thought haunt’s me every day. (IT’S O.K. Paul I UNDERSTAND). Now Darlene With your Bravery and understanding I’m much less afraid of understanding.

Thank You Darlene.


Hi Lila
I know it is hard and very often overwhelming. I was exhausted when I began and I was exhausted for the first couple of years of facing the past. I didn’t fit in either, but I found out where that started too. And I found hope and then I found freedom. There IS hope and I realize today that God was there all along but I had been so damaged, and I had suffered so much spiritual abuse that I could not possibly trust even him. I hope you read some of the posts that I have written here. My intention is to inspire hope through sharing the discoveries that I made about why I was so depressed in my own life and how realizing that stuff led me out of the darkness.
Thank you for your honesty.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Paul
One of the things that I remember too is how much I believed (as an adult) that I was at fault! That I caused a huge problem for my parents because the DR. discovered what the problem really was and that I brought Shame on them! It never dawned on me that I DESERVED to be taken care of in the first place. I even felt sorry for the teacher. That was how low my self esteem was. It is a long way up but one bit at a time and it is doable!
Keep going Paul!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


This is so true. I think for me what is hardest, is for me it starts literally at birth, I almost died and was a NICU baby. I had surgery at 2 days old, I was basically left by myself in the NICU for 6 weeks, my father could not deal with it, and my mother was not there much, and was only permitted to be during “visiting hours.” I was barely held and was fed through a tube. It is complicated because the intention was to save my life, but at the same time my emotional/bonding needs were ignored, and I imagine how traumatic the pain must have been for me. But they told my mother that “babies could not feel pain.”

I have really started looking at what damage this caused me, I used to blame myself, which now I realize was ludicrous. But I did, I assumed I was just born broken and it was all my fault, and everything that happened after was my fault as well. I deserved to be rejected and treated badly and abused, because I was born broken and was bad.

When you are looking at the preverbal, it becomes very difficult, it is amazing how deep it goes, I feel I am continually uncovering layers. I spent a lot of time looking at what was wrong with my parents and excusing them, excusing the doctors, nurses, etc. but the reality is it was damaging, no matter what the intentions were or what was happening with my parents, I was harmed. It made me realize I was just a baby. And I had value and deserved to be treated with value. Regardless of anything else I was not treated the way I should have been treated

When I try to even attempt to talk to my mother about this, she shuts me down, she cannot even grasp the concept that I was damaged in the NICU, that it impacted me. It is all about her and what she went through and how I ruined everything.


Hi Lynne
Even that you were told that they told your mother “babies cannot feel the pain” and I have heard other things like this such as “babies don’t “remember anything” but the thing is that they do… when their needs are not met, there is a communication that goes with that and the message is not love. This story is a great example of the “so what” that I talk about when people say that their parents did the best they could… because even though your parents were absolutely not permitted to hold you, touch you or even communicate in any way to you other than at visiting hours, the damage was done to you and and needs to be healed. And exactly what I am talking about when you say that your mom does not want to talk to you about it.. that is is about her and what SHE went through… more damage. More devaluing. Excellent comments!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene



I just read this post again and it has stirred feelings in me from when I was about 20 months old…. wow how weird that I can connect that far back, but I’m remembering how I felt when my mom returned from being away from me for days. When I saw her getting out of the car, I was overwhelmed with tears to see her again. She was my love source…I don’t remember who took care of me, so I asked my mom, when I was an adult. She said, my dad. Well, according to my mom, “he was scared to hold me”. He did not know how to nurture me and I “cried a lot”.

My mom told me he how to stop me from crying, that he took me to the hospital, where my mom was recouperating from giving birth to my very sick siste. My own dad did not know how to comfort me…so sad & I’m getting a bad headache right now & my stomach muscles are tightening, as I’m typing this. When I piece this info together, it’s obvious that my emotional needs were neglected & I felt abandoned with my mom away. I think this is where my damage started.

I was forlorn after this experience, and I remember my mom being very protective of my sister to the point of if I went near her, she would say don’t hurt her and be careful. I felt bad being near her and doubted myself around her.

My dad was not emotionally available- I do not remember hugs or kisses from him. My mom took some pictures of my sister & I sitting on the couch with him, as little girls, but I looked fearful. He was not approachable or safe to me as a child. I don’t ever remember any spankings, but he did have a temper and yelled a lot….my mom would say, I “never liked loud noises”…I can see why…I felt unsafe.

To this day and I’m in my forties, my relationship with my dad is strained. He has mellowed & shows tender emotions now, but only towards certain grand children- my sister’s little girl- she is favored. This hurts, when I see this and my dtr does not get that affection either. I don’t know if my dtr picks up on this…she is 6 & has not verbalized or commented to me about it.

I realize my dtr is seperate from me, and may not see her grandpa the same way. My perspective is filtered thru my childhood experiences of not getting my emotional needs meant. I don’t want to put that on her….Anyway, I feel sick thinking about this and it gives me more motivation to stay away from my family. If I wasn’t going towards them by visiting, I really doubt they would try to have a relationship!…This has got me thinking that the rejection will continue with or without them in my life!…Such a painful realization…Sorry for pouring my heart out…
Sincerely, SMD


After editing, I need to correct the sentence “My mom told me he how to stop me from crying”….I meant to say, “My mom told me that I cried a lot at night and he did not know what to do”….My mom used to hold me at night before going to bed. Well, you would think my dad would of known that or she could of told him that. I don’t know what happened after my dad taking me to see my mom in the hospital, but I do know I felt intense sadness…..


Dear Darlene,

I just wanted to thank you for all your great posts! They always make me cry, because it almost all of the articles I read here, there is one or two sentences that I can completely agree with. It always reminds me of how much work I still have to do in my healing process, but also of how far I’ve already come!

“I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.”

That is exactly what I did. What was the point in complaining? I was stuck with my mentally ill mother, if I like it or not. She was depressed and suffering anxieties so I had to be the adult in our ‘family’. Someone needed to be the responsible one and as she was not willing or able to be it, it had to be me.

I always told myself it could have been worse. And maybe it could have been. But it was still a terrible childhood and I’m finally able to admit it. I still have some trouble calling it abuse even though I know in my heart that it was some kind of emotional and psychological abuse.

I have always known that I would have problems to deal with all the bad memories of my childhood someday. But I always put it off because to cope with it I had to remember what happened and I didn’t wanna do it.

But when i visited my mother two years ago it opened my eyes and I could finally see how distorted my mothers view of the world is. It made me realize that her picture of me is also distorted. I started to see some events of my childhood in a totally new way. And I realized it was her who was selfish and self-centered, not me!

I decided it was time to do something, to make a change. So I wrote my mother a letter, a very long one, to explain to her how much damage she did to me. I told her all the things I was always afraid to say to her in person. And I told her to leave me alone for a while, because right now i don’t want to deal with her. Especially after she made it clear to me that she didn’t even understand what I was trying to tell her with that letter.


Thank you for this post. I so identify. I spent my childhood, and many of my young adult years, wondering what was wrong with me. Continuously asking myself, why I was not human. That was my conclusion, as a child who was being molested in the night, and hated by my mother in the daylight. She covered for him, and cleaned up all his messes. It has taken the last 10 years of healing work, to finally know I did not do anything wrong. Like so many others here, I did what I had to do to survive, including pretending that I did not give birth to my fathers children, when in fact I did. I do still struggle with disassociating, from time to time. However I now know what has happened, and can go back and look at what triggered it. Thank you for being a voice of abuse, and for giving all of us a safe place to Talk our Truth. It truly has set me free.


Hi Pam,

I saw your comment #21 only now, I´m sorry I didn´t reply earlier! Thanks for giving me such a detailed response! I´m glad to hear you´re doing better, and I´m sorry your family still doesn´t acknowledge what they did to you. This can feel like you are living in two different worlds.

Your reply really evoked a lot of important insights.

I think lack of care-taking (or discipline in the sense of taking care that there is any kind of structure that is beneficial to the child´s well-being and sense of safety) can be so damaging because it messes with the child´s integrity. Not having to do chores (or anything much at all) is “every child´s dream”, and yet that freedom can be way too much for a child. Even adults have difficulties when they don´t have a job and a regular schedule. That isn´t so easy to admit, though, and particularly at a young age. I think a child should be allowed to think she could get along perfectly fine without the “stupid rules” adults make up, while slowly being taught the necessary skills to really get along on her own. Denying a child structure is setting her up for failure. Eventually she is forced to take the perspective of the adults and think of herself as someone who needs more discipline – that is, something she and other kids don´t really want. This undermines a child´s self-worth.

And another thing just occurred to me: I could always get my way just by behaving badly enough. I always seemed to have a stronger will than my parents. But this, too, is actually damaging. Because what basically happens is that they give you up. When you yell “I don´t want to”, and they reply, “well, okay, whatever” they basically abandon you. The lesson you learn is that when you fight for what you want, you will be abandoned. This might explain a lot of my submissive behavior in important relationships. And maybe also my difficulties at wanting anything at all.

I´m sorry I´m making such general statements instead of talking about myself. I don´t mean to say that this always applies, I think it is one possible development. I just find it very difficult to talk about my experience in the first person, because I´m not even sure yet this is what I experienced. It just really rings a bell. So, again, thank you very much, Pam!


Hi everyone,

Long time since I’ve posted. Got a shocking cold (although ironically the weather here has been stupidly hot) so feeling rather sorry 4 myself.

I’ve been in my new place for about 3 and 1/2 wks now (consecutive). Struggling with the feeling that it’s not worth it, and/or it’s all just going to collapse around me sooner or later. Either from my parents stopping letting me use their old car (they’re still paying for it), me getting sick of trying to jump thru welfare hoops, or me getting sick of the city. I’ve already called the cops 3 times while I’ve been here (2x loud music on my floor all night, one guy sneaking up on me & trying to force his way thru the locking gate as I let myself in), seen multiple cop cars & ambulance at the gate to my building as I drove past, and had a resident tell me another resident’s a neo-nazi who’s threatening to kill him because he’s jewish. (I live in a small town btw – not like it’s murder central or something). Oh and the first day I came here had a letter to all residents from management saying all floors smelt of drugs over the wkend, and sniffer dogs would be brought out if necessary (hasn’t happened yet). It’s supported accomodation so I guess they can do that.

When I actually catalog all that, kinda makes me sit up and think “no wonder I don’t like it here”. I basically forced myself to do this cos I didn’t think I’d get another chance (with former workmates helping me thru process, filling in forms etc) cos I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all that by myself.

But I’ve hated the city for years anyway, and almost never came here (except sometimes to see bands). And cos I’d been hanging on to the idea of music “saving” me (eg giving me s/thing to live for), I convinced myself also I should move here cos it would help from that point of view. But the friendship with my songwriting partner of six years soured last year, when I began to feel like she was also controlling/manipulating me. That was one of the few relationships that had felt positive prior to that.


So annoying – stupid phone just died. Was feeling nice & cathartic getting some shit out. Should be grateful I thought to post first one just in case I guess. Even distracted me from how crap I’m feeling for a bit! 🙂

Not gonna bother trying to remember what I’d written, but just remembered last appt with my psych – he got quite… not angry exactly, but kinda firmer/showing more emotion in the way he spoke (usually very gentle in his manner) and said something like I’ve got to stop going over all the parental stuff (although he understands why I do) and focus on actually DOING things (eg activities) that I enjoy instead. I’m hoping Darlene that you’ll agree that that’s invalidating. (And now I’m worried you – or someone else -won’t). I’ve said to him quite often before that life seems like nothing but attempting to distract yourself from all the shit. Doesn’t seem like much of a way to live to me. (Although, can’t exactly say my “basic survival” method has anything going for it either. Actually I guess it’s pretty much the same thing anyway)

Just remembered what I’d been writing – friend’s wedding approaching rapidly. Was meant to be best man, bailed on that a while back. Doubt I’ll be able to force myself to even go. My parents are invited. Feels invalidating (told him about the abuse last year after I broke down completely telling him I didn’t want to live anymore). I believe that was directly related to attending another wedding where my parents were present, and was stupid enough to go sit with them for a bit – just long enough for the pure joy I’d been feeling at how radiantly happy the bride was to be shat on thoroughly by my parents. (Lifetime of indoctrination & brainwashing has made me a painfully slow learner at times).

Ok gonna stop here. Hope everyone’s doing well.



It took me a very long time to be able to talk about what was wrong. I thought most things were normal because that’s how things were in my house. I also accepted my parent’s narative about certain incidents and now I see them quite differently. A lot of things came to the surface as I was raising my own children. I believe that the environment we grow up in shapes all of us but everyone also, makes their own choice for good or evil. I wasn’t a perfect mom but I worked really hard at it and wanted the right things. Being responsible and seeking what was right for my children showed me what was missing in my own upbringing. We all raise our own children in the shadow of our parents and we also, make our own choices.

I was ‘spoiled’ in many ways too, all to my detriment. When I was a todler, I was allowed to eat only candy and had cavities in every tooth by the time I was six. This was discovered when I developed an abcess. The narative was they were so worried about how little I was that they just let me eat what I wanted. There is no narative about why I wasn’t taken to a dentist before I developed an abcess. Basically, I could do whatever I wanted if I didn’t bother them. If I was sick, it had to get to the point of really bothering them before they would seek medical help. I didn’t understand, for a long time, that everything was about them. That was the key for my being able to understand how they think.

I wish you luck on your own journey of truth.



Just remembered something from around that time last year – my father often acts all generous with money (and has spent a lot on me over the years in fairness… although in fairness to ME, I’ve often felt like it was conditional etc). Anyway more than once last year after offering to pay for extra therapy & my mobile phone bill (which I had been paying for myself) he then turned around and said it was too much & I’d have to cut back on both. And with the phone bill, I’m almost certain it was after I’d told them hospitilisation was looking extremely likely, and I definitely remember saying to him that I needed to be able to call people when I was down, but he dismissed it (can’t remember what he said). So having dangled the carrot of additional therapy (I’d been paying for my own prior to that, but obviously could afford significantly less frequent sessions), he then added the stress of complaining about it, put a dollar value on my life & decided the dollars were more important. And with the phone, he’d actually convinced me to change providers & let him pay it saying it would be “easier”, then complained about it & told me that my mental health (which at that time, basically equalled my existence) wasn’t worth the extra dollars. Also just remembered him acting weird one time – I think he was trying to imply without actually saying directly that he knew I’d used the phone to look up porn. (Said something like the phone bill was “interesting”, and that he’d show it to me sometime). At that stage I didn’t really give a shit – was quite happy to tell my mother where I got my start on explicit hardcore porn and let him deal with that shitstorm for a while. (My mother is vocally anti-porn).

Just remembered something else I wrote in the lost post just before – I f**king hate my parents.

Still haven’t called them on any of this (scared shitless of them still). But with the wedding approaching, and the fact that I’ve been ignoring nearly all their calls/msg’s (haven’t even spoken to my mother since I moved), feels like the flashpoint may also be approaching. Also afraid to say anything and lose the car – would feel very trapped without it (brutal anxiety about public transport). Oh well. Same old, same old.


Keep posting then immediately remembering something else…

At the wedding I was meant to be in, there will also be a friend of the groom’s (who I know a bit thru him) who actually did attempt suicide, but the groom still says to me he’s got to “grow up” or “man up” and “get over it”. (A girl he liked who wasn’t interested in him, and who’s recently got engaged to a guy he also knows). I relate more to the friend, since I still feel stuck on my first love & don’t know how to move on. So more invalidation etc. Sharing up to be one helluva wedding, no?


Thank you for pouring your heart out. All this sharing helps others. All these things help others to realize the damage that may have happened to them. This is another great example of a situation that could not be avoided as far as your mom having to be away, (your father’s neglect and inability to care for you emotionally, is another part of this story and something that really helped me was to break things down and look at EACH part eg: a) your mom HAD to be away and b) your dad emotionally neglected you ~ BUT in both cases the damage WAS done and facing that damage is how I was able to heal from it. And then c) your mom caused such fear in your around your sister and d) your dad had a temper.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Yvonne
I am glad that you are here too and thank you for sharing!
I always told my self that it “could have been worse” too. That was how I survived… the problem is that continuing to tell myself that in adulthood was the same as invalidating myself ~ a life time of invalidation. YES it could have been worse; SO WHAT? That is what I had to finally say to myself. Yay for admitting it! The thing about facing the damage is that although it is terrifying and it feels like it might kill us ~ there is freedom on the other side. Today I understand my mother and what happened to her, BUT not at MY expense anymore. I used to let that be the excuse for accepting her nasty treatment of me. I feel sorry for her, but NOT enough to let her abuse me anymore. She has the same choice that I have. She too can do her own healing work and find the same freedom that I found.
Glad you are here;
Hugs, Darlene


I told my father and mother to leave me alone. I was a grown woman. Time to throw these degenerates out of my life and I cared not one iota for their “issues”. My father called the police! Believe it or not. He would report that I was a missing person. One day I got home from work (in London, England) to find the Metropolitan police searching my apartment because my father had contacted them. I knew he was doing this to control me. He said I wasn’t answering his letters so the police needed to check out my whereabouts. I was lectured by the sergeant to be a “Good Daughter” and pay attention to my father. Never mind that no one had ever paid attention to me except in negative ways. I was supposed to pay obeisance to them. My blood was boiling! This police intervention continued. Never knew when I would get a police call on my answering machine searching for me. The feeling was that my parents saw me as property and I would never get away from them. That I did not have enough personhood to demand my freedom. Other members felt they had a claim on me because we had the same DNA link. Came home from work one day-again in London-to find a family member had got into my house! She was upstairs! Creepy huh? You bet! Someone told me the only way to get rid of family was with an ax! HaHa. So I took the proverbial sword and cut the umbilical cord to bits. Cleaned house. Heads rolled. Heads on sticks. Bullets, blood spit and dirt. Filial love finally obliterated from every gloaming corner. I double-checked. It was quite a skirmish but I finally won my soul. All’s quiet on the western front now. Now that is my idea of forgiveness!


Hi Pam,
Welcome to EFB ( ~ Everyone ~ please be aware that we have 2 Pams on this comment thread now)
Thank you for sharing this; what a nightmare you lived. My wish is that people read your comments and realize the depth of how hard it is to actually SEE and accept that it was not your fault when there is that much brainwashing in childhood. The truth set me free too~
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.
Great to hear from you! I have found it very helpful to write all this stuff out for the purpose of realizing what I believe about myself because of it, and then trying to see the truth (not the lies that I believe about myself because of the trauma etc) It is in doing that; facing the past and the damage for the purpose of seeing the lies that I believe about ME (and then changing them back to the truth; (lots of info in this site about that) ~ that I found freedom.
Hugs, Darlene


I told my father and mother to leave me alone. I was a grown woman. Time to throw these degenerates out of my life and I cared not one iota for their “issues”. My father called the police! Believe it or not. He would report that I was a missing person. One day I got home from work (in London, England) to find the Metropolitan police searching my apartment because my father had contacted them. I knew he was doing this to control me. He said I wasn’t answering his letters so the police needed to check out my whereabouts. I was lectured by the sergeant to be a “Good Daughter” and pay attention to my father. Never mind that no one had ever paid attention to me except in negative ways. I was supposed to pay obeisance to them. My blood was boiling! This police intervention continued. Never knew when I would get a police call on my answering machine searching for me. The feeling was that my parents saw me as property and I would never get away from them. That I did not have enough personhood to demand my freedom. Other members felt they had a claim on me because we had the same DNA link. Came home from work one day-again in London-to find a family member had got into my house! She was upstairs! Creepy huh? You bet! Someone told me the only way to get rid of family was with an ax! HaHa. So I took the proverbial sword and cut the umbilical cord to bits. Cleaned house. Heads rolled. Heads on sticks. Bullets, blood spit and dirt. Filial love finally obliterated from every gloaming corner. I double-checked. It was quite a skirmish but I finally won my self esteem. All’s quiet on the western front now. Now that is my idea of forgiveness!


sorry. Repeat.


“theweirdphilosopher” and Pam

At the heart of this discussion is the false definition of love. Very often children who were damaged by being slaves to parents or who have found their value in what they can DO for their parents, will let their own kids do whatever they want. NO boundaries, no chores, no limitations… but that is no more love than using kids as slaves or objects. There are many forms of neglect. I had to look at; the true definition of love in order to heal. I had to look at how I was defined. How did I learn my value or lack of it. I see kids every day who have “no value” because they had no boundaries… how can it be “love” when parents let you eat whatever junk you want? How can it be love to let a kid do what they want, stay up however late they want… etc. etc. Kids learn their value from their caregivers… and we learned how to have a relationship in the way that it was modeled to us.
Love the conversation here!!
Hugs, Darlene

(P.S. There is a difference between equal value and equal authority.)


Hi Denderah
WOW~!!!! You said a mouthful here! I totally can see a controller calling the police to report (their property) as a missing person! I am so familiar with the “HOW DARE YOU” think you can just walk away from me! I will SHOW you!!! ~ it is stunning how much the idea of “ownership” is involved with dysfunctional parent child relationships!
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Good morning Darlene,

Thanks for sharing your experience of how you came to find peace and love yourself for your true worth. I’m still in the process of recovery and have experienced a similar path of having to recognize that my parent’s neglect and abuse was the ONLY reason for my low self-esteem. My story is similar to yours except that it was my grandfather who was the pedophile. It went on from age 5-13. When I was 9 or ten, I finally told my father because I needed it to stop. He told me that I was a little slut and it was my fault because “A man will go as far as you let him.” My father was extremely abusive but up to that point he had not committed sexual abuse toward me. After hearing about my maternal grandfather, it wasn’t long before my father molested me. I never told anyone until I was 16 and I was not believed. There was so much neglect and violence that it just added to my low self-esteem and my belief that I should apologize for the air I breathed. Thankfully I’ve done a lot of reclaiming my inherent worth and have found my voice. I still have a ways to go, but am on the right path.


Hi Its Clare
To what you were saying about your Parents Rejecting You they dont mean too Its just that they proberly find it hard of what has happened. Its like when it happened to me My work place didnt believe me so thats why they moved me some where else to shut me up from telling the Papers but when my Parents found out well they were so up set and wanted to get the person who had done this to there Daugter but my Mum finds it Difficult to talk about because she crys but my Dad wont even talk about it he says that I should of moved on by now and got a proper Job but they dont relise how scary it is for me. Your Parents will Come round graduley it takes time.

From Clare


Hi Tammy
This is so tragic! A father who’s belief that it is the childs fault even transferred to his own little girl. I know how difficult it is to share this type of thing and yes, it is the cause of most problems, ~ self esteem, depression ~ ect. You were not heard, or SEEN or valued in any way, in fact you were continually devalued.
Thank you for sharing this and that you have now found your voice and your worth! YES you are on the right path!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Clare
You are taking a pretty big chance writing on this website in defence of parents. You may want to defend YOUR parents, but please don’t advise anyone else about “their” parents. You have no idea about anyone else’s parents. My Parents did not come around so please don’t tell me that it takes time or that they didn’t “mean” to reject me. (or others on this site) the truth is that they DID reject me, they devalued me and they discounted me, and they are not willing to stop doing it. There is no excuse. they made a choice and now so have I.
hugs, Darlene


Pam – I saw your phrase” stop living in the past” – as said to you by family. It stopped me in my tracks…it was said to me too. A the time I was a bit hurt – but NOW – I am enraged!!!!
Living in the past??? Well, hulloooo! How did THAT happen????
PTSD – the flashbacks are about the unprocessed past being experienced as the present – it is not the past for us – we live with it daily on this healing journey, if only because we were not HELPED appropriately when we were crying out for it in so many ways. And how many of us survivors would call the past “living”? We existed, clung to survival by the tips of our fingers at times. That wasn’t living.
Clare, I would previously have said my parents “did the best they could” but the truth is, they didn’t. At all. Moreover, while they didn’t actively abuse me (so far as I can remember) their behaviour did set me up for being sexulaly abused by others by failing to adequately parent me. They are as responsible for what happend to me, in my opinion, as the people who did rape me.
In this instance I don’t regard the passage of time as being healing. If that was the case, I would have been healed fromthis abuse a long time ago. The truth is, I repressed all memories of what happened to me until just 3 yrs ago – nearly 50yrs. Time does NOT heal this, facing the truth does, naming the reality, processing those feelings consciously and conscientiously heals. Burying your head in teh sand, pretending it didn’t matter perpetuates the pain, prolongs the suffering and keeps you as a slave to the abuser.


Darlene, what are the steps you took to go back in the past and realize where you were affected? Did you write down all your memories that you knew were wrong? Did you just keep releasing them until you truly believed it? And what do you mean exactly when you say not to get stuck on forgiveness? How do you know if you are and how do you move on once you realize you are?


Libby, You’re right on about PTSD. The past is always right there. It’s the filter everything passes through until truth is applied. Even then, the past is part of you. I am leaving it behind now but sadly, I’ve had to leave my family of origin with it.—The way my parents treated me set me up for sexual abuse too. When the people who raise you don’t treat you with respect and say they love you, there’s no reason not to accept the same from others. I also, agree that time passing doesn’t heal all wounds. They have to be tended to correctly before they can begin to heal and it has to start with truth as the disinfectant. I had a lot of wounds that festered for a very long time.



Libby thanks for these gut wrenchingly truthful commments about PTSD the past IS present.. and in that case its not even past… our wounds are always there and we need to self parent so we can take care of them.. its taken me so many years to understand this truth.. the truth does set you free even though its incredibly painful…. better to know it and feel than live a life of denial… this takes such courage.. I am so inspired by these comments….thank you.


Hi Monica,
Welcome to EFB!
I did write a lot of things out, but the key for me was not in releasing; it was in finding out what the events caused me to believe about me… the lies that I believed about myself; the messages that I got from them. I have written volumes in this site about how I did that ~ I hope you will read more of the articles here.
As for forgiveness I have some blog posts on that topic too~ try this link http://emergingfrombroken.com/?s=forgiveness or use the search tool in the right sidebar to see everything I have written on the topic you are looking for.
Hope this helps.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] It is important to keep in mind however, that it doesn’t matter what her intention was. It was what I heard that matters because the message that I got from this “request” or “judgment” is the damage that I had to overcome. The message received was the damage. That is what I am talking about when I talk about overcoming damage and having to find out what the damage actually was in the first place. […]


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post called “Smile ~ An Example of Belief System Formation”
This new post illustrates an example of how “a message” transfers to the belief system. I use the story of how I was constantly told (and reprimanded) to smile… and the way that I processed that directive. Remember that it never matters what the intention was, we are trying to find out what the message was ~ the message we got is where the damage is living.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I still get pretty stuck/confused re exactly what to do/how to do it.

It feels very hard to explain what goes thru my brain when I try to apply what you describe above to myself, but I want to try in case it helps me understand (or possibly helps you understand where I’m getting stuck).

Ok, I’ve just been going over your post & trying to figure out what happens in my brain…

I think the problem is I feel unable to believe good things about myself as the truth. I think if I went over some of my posts above (and/or from other blog entries) I could find plenty of ways my parents damaged me/taught me not to value myself etc, but I can’t seem to make the jump from seeing that a lot of what they did was totally f**ked up to actually changing the deeply ingrained belief that I’m helpless, hopeless & doomed to never find peace in this or any other life.

It all started too early. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid of hell (for general sinfulness etc). I think I must’ve been convinced that sex (in any form) = hell pretty early, and I think puberty was the end for me (in terms of now being utterly convinced I was destined for eternal torment due to having a sex drive). The double f**king whammy of brutal repression & shame around the slightest innocent interest in girls, along with my father being my introduction to explicit hardcore porn was game over. Believed I was utterly perverted etc, commenced double life as good christian boy with a dirty little secret. Not sure where this story comes from, but remember hearing it quite a few times either at church or church camps etc – the one about having all your sins displayed for all to see on a big movie screen when you die and having to watch. Anyway that one f**ked my skull into oblivion.

Umm, feel like I’ve gotten off topic…

Oh yeah, so the truth. Well, even though I finally chose to turn my back on christianity (as well as any entity that may be lurking behind the fog of religion), the basic fear that any part of it’s true definitely isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

I’ve tried to think in terms of what if it’s all lies, or what if there’s nothing beyond this life, but I can’t get anywhere. I refuse to bow to any omnipotent force that rules by fear & uses eternity as punishment (but I’m still scared shitless of it). I can’t picture any way in which there could be an afterlife that I’d want any part of (unless maybe memory is erased & it’s a fresh start beyond all pain & misery).

Hmmm. No longer sure if any of this is relevant to what I was trying to say/figure out etc.

Just flicked back over it. Guess the point is I can’t erase the fear/belief that god (or any other higher power out there) is a petulant little bitch who created me only to f**k me over from birth & condemn me to hell for eternity. And perhaps more importantly, the fear/belief that that’s exactly what I deserve.

And although I fervently hope that none of that is true, if nothing else the eternal stakes make it a pretty big one to get wrong (and therefore seems impossible to be free of the fear).

Even though in some ways I don’t think I actually think/worry about it that often anymore (at least nothing like I did for pretty much my whole life), I can’t imagine it ever disappearing completely.

Ok. I’m never entirely sure what’s going to offend people, but pretty sure this post will manage that small thing. Then don’t know if I actually want to apologise or not. I guess there’s some people I’m quite happy to offend (in general), but then people on here who I respect & would rather not offend, but obviously having the bitter ex-christian thing going on, there’s kinda no way around it except not talking about it/toning it down, as I usually try to do (although I’m sure that would be very hard to believe from you guys’ point of view – a lot of this stuff is actually pretty restrained to how it is in my head at times.)

I guess I’m just trying to silence the guilt about saying some of these things in a place where I know there are lots of christians. But at the same time, it’s how I feel. So I guess trying to be true to that when it’s relevant to what I’m trying to figure out/work thru etc.


Hi J.
Actually this is really good work! (in your comments)
One of the things that really helped me was to look at my definition of certain words… (such as “Christian” or “love” or “respect”) don’t assume that “all Christians” have the beliefs that the ones who abused you were. People are all individuals.
Having said that, you are way more on the right track with your processing than you realize here. You refuse to worship the kind of God that you were “taught about” and at the same time afraid of him ~ but the TRUTH is that the God you were taught about IS NOT GOD. (that is the bottom line part of many processes).
I “threw out” all the teachings (from man) that I had learned and found the real message and then decided if I wanted to accept the real message or not. In my case I put my healing first and just tried to trust that a loving God would not cast me into hell or whatever, just because I needed to sort out the years of damage from abuse; and abuse that included him, so I set it all aside. Every time I thought about it, I told myself that I would get back to that part later. As I learned self love by seeing how I had never learned self love, the whole God thing straightened out for me.

As far as your worthlessness; when you see that video of yourself as a child… is that little boy worthless? When you see a little kid or a new born baby, do you think that child (any child) is born worthless? I often had to think of other kids in order to believe that I HAD value! I was defined as valueless, but not born that way.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi J,
I so identify with your feelings about Christians, hell etc. For many years I sat in the pew and did all i could to promote God. I have come to realize that the reason why I can no longer do it is not because of God but because of mans interpretation of God’s word. For all those years i clunge to the promises that i would get everything back that I lost from years of living under my family and the many grooming rules I had to abide by. It has been several years since I have darkened the door of a church because I so want to try and figure out why i am so angry and why that anger has everything to do with GOd and his church.
I lost years and years of my life, my children, and the life i dreamed of having. just like all survivors have. I dont have any answers for you i am trying to figure this out as you are. What i do know is i dont want to be angry with God i want to believe what i used to believe. Right now i dont, and if what i was taught is true that God is love, then i have to trust that he understands why for now i dont want anything to do with his church. I want so badly to believe that everything will be ok. Right now i just cant seem to find that belief, and thats where i am. Thank you for bringing up this subject, i hope you find peace. Pam


Thanks so much Darlene & Pam. I’ve been stressing pretty bad since my last post (worried that I’d finally gone too far and that this was gonna be the one to get me banned from the site or something) so discovering your msg’s was a lovely surprise (brought a tear or two to my eye)..

It’s really late, and I think coming here was actually my masochistic side hoping that was the case so I’d feel even worse. Or something. Although now I suddenly feel really tired, so I think I’ll have to come back later to reply. But thankyou both again for looking beyond the bitterness etc & allowing me to be true to myself. Means a lot.

PS – Hugs. Because I can. 🙂


More good work! These things were all clues for me… realizing how I really felt, realizing that sometimes I hoped that the result would be damaging because in my world (before) love hurt. Love was related to rejection.. it is all very mixed up.
Ad for your fears; I only ask that no one condemn a group of people as in saying ALL christians or ALL men or ALL mothers.. that sort of thing.
Hugs, Darlene

I loved your comments too. I don’t attend church anymore.. I am so much more spiritual without it. When I came out of that whole fog I saw how much I had to DO in order to be accepted as a christian. That was really wrong! One time I didn’t have time to help with a funeral lunch. The coordinator guilted and reprimanded me! I volunteered for everything, but I couldn’t do this one thing and I realize that the misuse of power and control and the true def. of love, relationship and respect, (including equal value for all people which I believe was CHRISTS message in the first place) was just NOT present within so many of the memembers there… so I quit. I could not do ONE thing and I was a failure. That is exactly how I grew up.
The thing for me is that I finally realized that God is love, but not the love that I had been taught was love. Love is what is best… that helped me a LOT. thinking about things in terms of “best” for everyone including me.
Hugs, Darlene



It just occurred to me that the “double life” deal I mentioned earlier is probably a form of dissociation (or at least similar to it). Never thought about that before.

That was probably my biggest fear growing up – having that “exposed” in public somehow. Probably only added to the desperation to be (or at least appear) perfect (already in place courtesy of parental “training”), in the hope no one would see beyond the facade. And hence the terror evoked by the “sin cinema” tale.

Well this was only gonna be quick while I remembered the double life/dissociative connection. Planning to re-read your posts & write more later, but will say quickly that I do at least try not to assume things about all christians.

Actually, as I think about it, I think in a lot of ways it’s closed-mindedness I find hardest to deal with. And when that’s combined with christianity (probably any religion actually, it’s just vast majority of my experiences have been with christianity) well, it doesn’t get much worse.

For the record, I was the worst kind of judgmental “christian” in a lot of ways growing up, so that’s probably why I’m so conscious/militant etc.

Hmmm. Even as I wrote that (and it feels like s/thing I’ve believed for a very long time, and a belief that came from me, not parents etc), a very unusual thing happened — my head actually jumped in and defended me! (Usually does the opposite).

I remembered how I was often someone who’d talk to new people at church/youth group, or people who didn’t get talked to much. (Well that didn’t take long… Now my head’s back to its usual plan, telling me all that was just to make myself look good etc. Stupid head!)

Anyway gotta cruise for now. More later probably!


Hi J.
I did my share of judgement too. I think of it as my “caving in period” when I had learned so well the abusive teachings of compliance and obedience and do what they want in order to be good enough that I became like them. Love and grace don’t make sense in that world…
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All
I just published a new post related to this one
~ “Pathetic ways Controllers make you feel Guilt and Failure” two more examples of dysfunctional parent child relationship and how it was carried from childhood to adulthood and used against me.
Hugs, Darlene



I’ve been reading this site with a feverish hunger and just had to post.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the existence of this place Darlene.

I have wrestled with so much of what you’ve written about since I was very small but never before has anything written on these subjects actually spoken to my soul at such a deep and relevant level.

God only knows what led me here but for the very first time since I was a little child I can see that my non existent self esteem is caused by lies – lies that have told to me for so long and I never thought of treating them as such.

The relief of finally starting to really feel and believe that none of it was my fault is enormous (and very painful at the same time)

Up until now I really believed that I had an active part to play in the abuse dished out to me as a child, teenager and adult and ‘all those people can’t be wrong’ thinking was rife.

I remember recently discussing a problem at work with a friend and actually realising that my bottom line of any abuse, mistreatment etc would not result in my confronting it because the belief that this was to be expected because I’m just a crap human being and brought it on myself is/was an absolute fact in my mind.

It’s a real lifeline to me to finally be able to begin to unload the very heavy ‘pack’ on my back of guilt and shame and anger and sadness and start to put this crap back where it belongs.

Although I’m not looking forward to the pain of the emotions to come I feel this place will be a real life-line for me.

Thank you again.


Hi R
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I love your comments; realizing some of the things you mention here was where the hope for healing was born for me.
I was really afraid of the pain too, and it was painful but never as bad as I thought it was going to be. The pain I was living in all those years was far worse!
I look forward to your future comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you very much!

Pondering on how I’ve been told ‘it’s not your fault’ before but it always felt false and the compulsion to follow it up with a sarcastic ‘yeah, right’ was always there.

All over the insides of me I’ve been the family dog for all this time (it was decided when I was about six years old that the family dog would be their daughter and I would be the dog, complete with collar, leash, kicks and a big tin of dog food for mealtimes)

Just realised that you’re right actually, the pain of stuff like the above can’t be as bad as finally having a way to let it out.

Well, they do say hope springs eternal 🙂


Hi R.
Oh my gosh. That is horrible. This is one of the things that I would put on the “proof that it was not YOU or YOUR fault” side of your processing notes. This treatment that you endured is legally liable abuse. Not even the kind that can be swept under the rug like some types of neglect can be.
Thank you for sharing.
You are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene


I was scared that I would wake up today and discount the insight gained here but happy to discover it’s still with me.

Really knowing that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t deserve any of it is such a gift and relief.

I was so busy being grateful that I survived and am still here and telling myself to ‘quit crying and moaning or I’d give myself something to cry about’ (great article that btw) it never entered my head that I have every reason to feel that way.

I was systematically tortured, beaten and starved every day for years by my original family, being scared for my life was a regular occurence, yet I actively discounted it, swept it under the rug, convinced I deserved it because I was just such an ugly looking, wilful and plain awkward child.

Apologies, not sure why I’m writing essays here, just wanted to share my amazement and gratitude that the lightbulb this site has switched on is still glowing. Thank you.


Hi R
I did that too! You are not alone! And please don’t worry about how much you write here. I welcome all of it. Some of us just have to get it out and it helps so much for many of us, just to be heard and to “write it” out loud.
I am so happy for your lightbulb moments and for the comfort you are finding here!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks again for your words Darlene, they mean a lot.

My script runs even when taking up space on the Internet (shut up now, no one wants to hear that, stop clogging up someone else’s blog and on and on in that vein)

I’ve just had some people round to buy something from me that I’d advertised and for the first time I was able to observe myself fretting and fussing and hiding things around my home that I feel would be unacceptable for even strangers to know about me.

Very interesting and crazy at the same time 🙂


Just putting things down in writing, no response needed 🙂

I have felt utterly wiped out emotionally today and my stomach has been doing eight loop somersaults and hurt like hell.

Could barely keep my eyes open even though I slept well and suddenly got an image of me as a little girl, locked in my room as happened most days for hours on end.

Everything entertaining was stripped from that room, absolutely everything aside from the bed and a desk and I started to wonder if I used to go and sleep during those times/days and the tiredness now is an old way of coping with these emotions stirred up from that past.

I have memories of playing with an extension lead, loading my toys onto it and pretending it was a boat, that’s how empty my room was.

Sometimes all the bedding and the mattress would be taken away at night, no pyjamas either, it was very cold
and uncomfortable.

Once I climbed out of the skylight in my room onto the low roof – I found a bread crust which was literally green with age.

I actually ate that thing because I was so hungry, I’m still ashamed about that to this day.

Can’t believe I’m actually writing this here, i could just list it all on a word document and keep it only for me to see but there is something dangerous and cathartic about writing it where others can see it.


Just realised I contradicted myself with the toys/no entertainment. A handful of plastic animals
were left, all of them without tails because my mothers favourite game to play with my younger brother was slaughterhouse.

Bizarre how memory works…


The word cathartic really resonates with me “R.”
I am so sorry for the horror that you lived. What happened to you was so very wrong. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Can’t stop – either I put this down or I shrink back into embarrassment, now or never kind of thing….

Although this site is showing me why asking why is futile and ultimately doesn’t matter I still wrestle with the why’s or more accurately how’s of the fact that both of my parents colluded with each other to torture me.

Egging each other on to ever greater schemes of pain and humiliation for their small defenseless daughter, while their son was king and could do no wrong.

Two of them in my room, winding each other up, holding a strange kind of kangaroo court over my perceived wrong doings, only question in my mind being which one was going to start the hitting first.

How the hell do two people come up with ‘games’ of their kind? One of my earliest memories at four years old is being sat at the kitchen table, one of them holding my hand firmly down on a bread board while the other wielded an electric knife and told me my fingers would be cut off. The bloody teeth on that thing were millimetres from my small hand.

The terror was unbearable, still can’t stand to even hear the sound of an electric bloody knife to this day. When that was finished they told me to go to bed but to watch out because one of them might decide to come and cut my head off with the knife in the night. Lying awake waiting for one of your parents to come cut your head off – no wonder I had night terrors into my late teens.

I could typing for days and days and really extract the urine in taking up space here but I just can’t.

Thing is, I always felt one of the lucky ones because I knew my entire childhood was messed up and so I tried to run away repeatedly, three times without success.

The night I was called into the dining room at eight years old cemented my knowledge that I had to get away. Both ‘parents’ sitting there, stony faced, another kangaroo court, telling me all of my failings as a daughter, my father spat in my face and told me if he had his gun in the house he would have killed me there and then.

I ran away for the fourth and final time the next day, feeling that I would die if I stayed any longer.

Still remember that walk, leaving my much loved little brother with only a rough idea of where to go but I managed to get away with the help of a school friend’s parents.

Thank you (again) for the space to let this out.


You are welcome ~ thank you for your willingness to share. Be aware that sharing this much stuff all at once might scare the crap out of you even as soon as tormorrow. Many people here who share a lot all at once become overwhelmed by it all and the fear sets in. I am not trying to discourage you, just giving you a heads up. You are sharing some really big chunks!
Hugs, Darlene


“sharing this much stuff all at once might scare the crap out of you”

Yes, the factory in my mind is already complaining very loudly about these ‘infractions’ so I completely get what you’re saying.

Opportunity to push on in the coming days and silence the very scared voices perhaps.


I would think of it more as “comforting and reassuring” those scared voices. They are after all, parts of you trying to protect yourself the way you were forced to as a child. You are challenging your “survival mode” and that takes a lot of gentle understanding towards yourself. (well it did for me anyway!)
Hugs, Darlene


Tonight I find myself wishing I’d never read this site – so much going round my head yet I can’t beat myself back into line with the old methods.

I’ve been writing things down for the first time ever because it’s just too much to try to reason out without it. And I remembered something interesting and important for me.

When I got to my last foster family, I was told that one of the social workers who knew me before I got to the family had said that I was bound to be left with problems and issues probably into adulthood given what had happened to me in my original family and first foster home.

I remember very clearly being horrified at that and deciding that I wasn’t going to be one of ‘those’ people. I was going to be ‘good’ and perfectly normal and not have any problems whatsoever.

Then again, since counselling offered to me was rejected by my foster family out of hand (you don’t need it, just forget about it, it’s done now etc) I guess there wasn’t really much choice involved in my ‘decision’ to be a perfectly normal human being.


Hi R.
That is the thing about the fog lifting to reveal the truth at the bottom of it all…. once exposed it is pretty hard to go back. I know what you mean though.. there were many times I wished I could unsee the stark and cold truth that I had finally seen… but eventually it got much better and then it got terrific and today I would never want to go back!
Hang in here! This process takes a bit of time.
Hugs, Darlene


I am so amazed, something in me has grabbed on to at least one fundamental truth I recognised since I’ve started reading this blog.

Ever since I can remember I’ve had this horrible anxiety hanging over me, no matter what I did, it was there. Like something really horrible was about to happen and I had to be ready for it.

Stomach churning, heart beating as if there was a crisis to be dealt with, nail biting to the point where whole nails would ‘go missing’ and need plasters applied to them for days kind of anxiety and fear feeling.

That’s reduced markedly in the last couple of days and it’s such a nice feeling, to the point where I have no idea how I managed to exist with it before.

I pass a mirror and the old voice starts up with ‘look at the state of you, ugly, sad, fat, pathetic etc etc’ and I just tell it to get lost – and it actually feels real and it works.

Years of reading self help books advocating the use of mantras and affirmations (i.e say I love you everytime you look in the mirror) just made me want to be sick and slap myself before but now I really feel it.

I’m pottering around my house, perfectly happy just to be without whipping myself to go ‘do something useful and stop being lazy’

Even the voice that would sigh a hundred times a day and tell me ‘what’s the point’ has piped down and every time I catch myself in the usual round of mental insults there’s another voice now saying ‘but you know that’s rubbish, don’t you?’

All this talk of voices, sorry, just the best way for me to describe it right now.

I’ve even been able to cry a bit for the little girl I was rather than just feeling it all happened to someone else.

Nowhere near enough yet and as Darlene says. this process takes time but so far this road is giving me a glimpse of the inner peace and strength that I feel sure are waiting for me further on.

I was looking at my cats tonight and suddenly realised that one of the reasons I love that particular type of animal so much is the way they are born with a sense of being beautiful and right and belonging to this world. No need for anyone to tell them they are valuable and precious, they just know and no one can convince them otherwise.

It’d be lovely to get that place myself eventually 🙂

Another huge thank you again from me, for the existence of this blog and all of the wonderfully couragous people posting on it, helping me to see the truth about myself one bit at a time.


Hi R
This is awesome! thanks for sharing.
about “voices” no worries, I was the same way. and it was by listening to them and correcting them that I changed them from being so slef negating.
Hugs! Darlene


Hi, Darlene, I’m been following for a while, so I am familiar with what you are trying to share. My question is this – if you look at the damage and identify where the lies are, and you realize you are not at fault, etc. how is the PTSD affected? Does that mean that the next time someone publicly humiliates you and does something that replicates the original abuse, you are not affected? Or are you still affected but not paralyzed? I know that for me, I can use my cognitive abilities to respond, ie tell myself that it is wrong, then take action like walking away, not engaging, formally complaining or whatever, but won’t it always be devastating when someone behaves the way all abusive people do – treat you like invisible, not worthy, etc.?


Thank you so much for your wonderful blog! It helps to know that one is not alone in issues such as this.


Hi Krissy
for me the PTSD went away over time as a result of changing what I used to believe about myself. My self esteem was very badly affected by the original truama and emotional abuse. When I started to look at the original damage, I suddenly realized that my depressions, ptsd and dissociative issues began there. Fixing what was originally broken healed those issues. As time went on, (just realizing this stuff does not automatically change the reaction to it) I was quickly able to realize that when people treat me like I am invisible or not worthy, it was about them, and not about me. It no longer bothers me when this kind of thing happens and another bonus is that it rarely happens; I think abusive controllers etc. can sense when someone has a strong boundary and they are afraid to even push it. Abusers are really quite pathetic and deep down, they know it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Annette
Welcome to EFB. Thank you for your lovely message!
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene,

I keep coming back here to post general things because it feels like the foundation ‘101’ of this site 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that the change I felt in me is lasting and I’m so pleased!

The fear and panic that used to be with me everyday have really dampened down (was worried it was a fluke last week) but I feel so much calmer inside now it’s like a miracle.

A few things have happened that would have had me in an absolute spin of anxiety before, nothing overly momentous, just normal life to most people but all things that would have normally had my heart thumping in my chest and throat and completely overtaken by a fear that felt like my very life was at stake.

I had no idea just how bad it was before, no wonder I was always exhausted, it was exhausting to always feel so threatened yet to have to push on regardless and berating myself for feeling that way at the same time.

I’ve laughed a lot more and I’ve said a lot more things than I would usually dare because the truth of who I really am is slowly really starting to sink in.

As soon as one of this weeks calamities is sorted out I will be making a donation to this wonderful blog and, I know I keep saying it but thank you, again, from the bottom of my (newly calmer) heart 🙂


Hi R.
I am really glad that you are having all these breakthroughs and results! That is fantastic! I remember when I noticed that I was coming out of those spins, when I realized what they even were! and I too realized why I had been so exhausted. It is WORK to stay in that false system. It is WORK to stay in denial. Clearing all that up gave me more energy then I had ever had in my life! (oh and the calmness is amazing ~ something I never imagined)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi R,

I was thinking about donating to EFB too! I’m also feeling better with more Aha moments. Some days, I’m exhausted & confused from the hard work, but it’s been worth it! I’m catching myself more, before I go into a spin. I’m feeling better with less anxiety too! Darlene, I agree, you are amazing! Thank You.
Sincerely, SMD


Spoke too soon, exhausted today he he.

At least now when that happens I just acknowledge that I’m tired, allow myself an easier day, rest etc rather than giving myself an internal beating for being ‘lazy’ ‘good for nothing’ and an external punishment by doing double what I would usually.

SMD – glad you’re starting to feel better in yourself too!

Onwards and most importantly upwards (with the good feelings) 🙂


Thank you. I spent a lot of years in training before I started this site and it is great to hear when other people are having results because of what I am sharing here. That was my hope.
Hugs Darlene

Everyone~ about donations;
~ I appreciate it very much when people donate to EFB. I should do a page about donations; it costs me around 200 per month to run this becaue of the size of the site I pay a tech person to maintain it for me, back it up and update the tech stuff in the back end and do the security stuff and I pay for hosting as well as for the autoresponder. (not to mention my time .) I don’t make that in donations. Having said that, I don’t “expect” donations but I am going to have to do something different pretty soon!


You sound really good talking self care and everything!
Hugs, Darlene


“You sound really good talking self care and everything!”

Yes, I talk a good talk sometimes, it’s the walking of the walk that’s the difficult bit 🙂 🙂

Sorry one more personal triumph to report today – someone unepectantly offered me some practical help that I hadn’t asked for at all but sorely needed.

And I actually accepted it.

Not much of a shocker in ‘normal’ terms but I’ve never done that before in my life. Always insisted on struggling on by myself, pretending all will be fine because I was taught that accepting help is just the ultimate shameful taboo.

And it suddenly hit me that there’s probably always been help around me but I just couldn’t see it let alone make use of it.

“Having said that, I don’t “expect” donations but I am going to have to do something different pretty soon!”

Well, I for one would be quite happy to pay a regular subscription fee (if it went that way I meant)

Just saying….


I find myself returning to this particular blog because it is so important.

Bottom line: I am now realizing that it is OK to take my feelings seriously.

Life seems to be much more manageable just by doing this one thing…and in fact, it makes complete sense now (in retrospect) that for all these decades mired in depression and what would appear to be my constant *ruminating* from outside observers has actually been my internal struggle in simply giving myself permission to take my feelings seriously.

So simple…now.

It is starting to make an incredible, positive difference in my life and I just wanted to share/pass this along…


Hi Brenda
this was a big thing for me too! To finally validate my own feelings! Thanks for highlighting this in your words!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for having the strength to climb out, rise above your abusers and share your stories so that we may be inspired to do the same.


Hi Michundy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. I am glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] my belief system and how it formed and how this situation resulted in being one of the ways that I came to view myself. Because of circumstances that I didn’t know how to process, I decided that I was special because […]


I remember telling my mother I was ‘unloved’. She replied that I had no idea what love was. She was so right!


Hi Blair
Welcome to E.F.B.
Yes, and they don’t know what love is.. and that is the part of the damage that we have to heal from.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


I too felt like this was written for me. It was nice to read this because I often hear rise above your raising and I find it difficult when I was set up for failure. But after reading this is makes me think that I was right in distancing myself from my family. The only way for me to be able to deal with life was to get the sickness “my family” out of my life. My mother is the self absorbed one, who would only make an attempt to talk about herself when I spoke with her. It got to the point where I thought, when did I become the mother here? I just cannot understand how the person who raised me and has been on this plant 20 years longer than me, just can’t get along in life. What happened, how did you forget all your life experience and begin to rely on a 19 year old experience? My mother didn’t even know the day of my upcoming wedding when someone asked her in front of me. Even when she owned/owns a flower shop, she wasn’t concerned with the wedding at all. She instead would talk nonstop about her divorce. I really feel like she is sick inside her own mind, she is lost in there inside the videos of the past replaying. She cannot stop hitting that replay button. I was just glad to know that others have over come this, I was beginning to think I would die before 40 from feelings caused by this.


Hi Alexis
Welcome to emerging from broken
I can relate to the feeling that I might die from the feelings/damage caused from this; never being validated that it even happened or that none of it was wrong was what got me so stuck! learning how to validate my pain and then my self worth is really what made all the difference! That is what this site is about.
So glad that you are here!
Thank you for your comment,
Hugs, Darlene


I discovered this website early this morning and I have been poring over all of the comments after I read an article. I can’t tell everyone on here enough how much all of this is meaning to my heart today! I have NEVER had anyone to talk to about my own past that totally understood or helped me to understand like this! My mother died when I was three yrs, and my dad remarried and she adopted legally my older brother and myself. I don’t know why she bothered, to be honest because from that year on it became increasingly clear that she resented us and she did everything she could to humiliate, degrade, reject and not have anything to do with us. My dad went along to keep the peace and then the abuse and neglect really escalated. My father was absolutely emotionally withdrawn….unless he was beating or yelling or making fun of me. Occasionally he would feel guilt so he would take me out for an ice cream cone. Everything was to make sure that “mom” was happy….if she was unhappy with me…I would be “punished” . She was unhappy with me on either a daily basis or I was completely ignored. I was the kind of girl who wanted to please, so I chased after both of them to try to get them to love me. Instead I was ignored, not praised ever etc etc. The rejection and emotional neglect would make me sit in my closet with a pillow and blanket and light I put in there to feel warm and safe. I also used to twirl around and around until got I became so dizzy that I would fall over and I would fall onto my bed and hold my pillow and pretend it was my parents arms holding me. I don’t know why, but that feeling somehow worked for me or something. So…on and on it went through the years until I was so deeply depressed that I could barely get up in the morning. I have worked so hard to get healed of the neglect messages that I absorbed as a kid, but even today it doesn’t make sense yet to me how I am attractive, worthy or as valuable as others. I mentally know this , but I am still a compulsive over eater so I know that unravelling this garbage inside of me is what it is going to take. Thank you so much for this place to be able to speak out the pain and begin to really understand that it wasn’t MY fault.


Hi Diane
I can related deeply to your comments. One thing that I have observed in myself and in many others is that the food problems are very often the last thing that gets resolved. Busting that old belief system takes time but persistence will pay off. I have written over 300 articles here talking about many of the ways that realizing the depth of lies that I believed about me (unattractive, not as worthy) helped me to change them around. It was in looking at the specifics of how the lies got cemented in there that really helped. Remember ~ combating brainwashing takes time!
So glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] This is a very painful truth. The deepest and most painful truth that I have had to face in order to overcome depression, dissociation, post traumatic stress disorder and all my other struggles with self esteem, living fully and finding freedom and wholeness has been to face that my toxic mother didn’t care and my emotionally unavailable father was never interested in me. By their actions, they didn’t love me. This realization came in layers over the years that I have worked on setting myself free. I have to constantly remind myself that understanding the people who hurt me is not part of the solution in the way that acknowledging and healing from the damage is.  […]



my mother did the ‘replaying her life’s movies in her head’thing over and over too. Narcicistic and self absorbed, all she every did was talk about herslef.


Me @7 yrs old: Daddy my tummy hurts, real bad.
Dad: well go lie down
Later, sweat on my too pale face, me: Daddy, it stil hurts
Dad: okay, let’s get to the doctor
Me: I don’t wanna go to the doctor
Daddy: (putting my little brother’s shoes on) sigh, go get me a comb for your hair.
Me: it really does hurt, Daddy
Doctor: I think she’s impacted in her colon.
Daddy: you mean constipated?
Doctor: yes. You need to be sure she goes every day. Give her an enema.

Daddy to Mama that afternoon: had to take Karenina to the doctor today. He said she was impacted in her colon.
Mom: What does that mean?
Daddy: She needs an enema, he said.
Mom: AN ENEMA! You mean we had to pay for a doctor just because she’s CONSTIPATED?That makes me zoo mad! Karenina, get your little but in that bathroom!
Daddy: Now, Micky, don’t be rough on her.
Mom: Well if you don’t want me to do it you do it!
Mom, in bathroom to me: You’re gonna get an enema alright. Wasting money because you’re too dumb to know when to go shit! It’s gonna be high hot and a helluva lot!
Me: Please Mama, no, Mama! Ooo oww! Nooooo! GET THAT NAIL OUTTA MY BUTT! GET THAT NAIL OUTTA MY BUTT! stop mama, I can’t hold it I can’t hold it! It’s too hot!
Mom: you had better hold it! You had better hold this whole bucket full!
Me: Mama stop I can’t…I can’t
Mom: I CanNOT BE LIEVE you shit on me! When we get done you are gonna get a whipping! You did that on
Me: No, mama, please mama, I couldn’t help it…

I got a daily enema for months. Got a beating if I complained. Mama seemed to enjoy it. One of her favorite stories for years, told in mixed company in my presence, was about me screaming so the whole neighborhood could hear me, “Get that nail outta my butt.” My humiliation just made her enjoy the tale all the more.


I meant to ask, is this a funny story, or is this abuse? Really, what’s your opinion?
I’ve had IBS for years and years… Related? nervous tension or early damage? who knows.


I was off the computer and got your comments on my phone just now. I HAD to come back to answer your question about your story.
As I was reading your story I said right out loud. “OH MY GOD” My daughter playing her guitar stopped and asked me “what mom?, because I don’t usually react outloud. This story is one of abuse. SERIOUS DISGUSTING HORRIFIC abuse. I would say that your IBS is totally related to this. (but I am not a dr.) There is NOTHING funny about this story. Your mother could have been charged (and SHOULD have been charged) with child abuse for what she did to you.
I am so sorry.
Having said that, I too did not know for sure what abuse actually was and that was part of the sorting out process. Facing it and validating that it WAS abuse was also part of the healing. Thank you for sharing. Please be gentle with yourself; you have been sharing some deep stuff and sometimes it all catches up and overwhelms. I have seen it many times.
Hugs and love, Darlene


I’m okay, Darlene. It feels good to tell these tales. Especially to people who will actually listen. My sister and brothers say we had a great childhood, a normal childhood. And the best Mom in the world. They like these kind of stories, old home stories they say. They have heard them over and over and never get tired of them. Say I’m just making mountains out of molehills. Say I was always melodramatic. A crybaby. A “little shit.”


One more little thing. Mama liked this story so well- it always got laughs,-that she decided to make it about her golden boy after a while.So she started making him the “star” of her favorite story about the nail in the butt. I guess the story was so good, it was too good to waste on me.
I didn’t care much, I was glad not to be humiliated anymore. But my memory is very clear. Gas lighting? Well it wasn’t the only time, maybe not even the first, but certainly not the last. Always over really unimportant stuff.

Well not that the abuse was not important, but I mean that it didn’t really confer any real advantages to her favorite two kids, golden boy and looks-just-like-mama sister, except maybe the limelight? Funny thing, after many tellings, the siblings would swear it was never changed at all…


My head feels like its going to explode. I’ve been reading your post since I first found them on facebook, thanks to an old high school friend. I think I can do this, and I try, I got a rock wrote things and names on it, and even drew a door, behind that door is the lies, the hurt, the rape, the beatings, and emotional abuse. Tied with a black ribbon on the rock is the key to that door. I threw that rock as far as I could into a lake close to my home, my husband went with me and even said a prayer for healing. I felt great, like I could move on and begin “building me.” That lasted maybe a week, then the old guilt about being a ungrateful, miserable, stupid, problem child came back with a vengence. I don’t know how to sort these things out in my head, I’m seeing a counselor, I have “cut off” my parents to prevent anymore abuse and drama. Although now my mother has started with my adult daughter who is astranged from our family for doing illegal activity. She is trying to get to me through her, and sometimes it works because I want to protect her but know I can’t when she chooses to listen to my mother because she(mother) excuses my daughters illegal and immoral activity. i have not spoken to either of my parents now in about 7 or 8 weeks and I can honestly say I don’t miss them. I am relieved, but I want to stop feeling like the victim, and that there is something wrong with me. Where do I start digging, and I’ve already remembered things I’d rather have left buried. But I know in order to heal and grow I have to confront these things, these memories, these lies and remove myself emotionally and physically from people who continue to hurt me, I’m confused as to how to get there.
Thanks for letting me ramble!


Hi Shary
Welcome to emerging from broken. Thank you for sharing your rock story and some of your life story. For me it was only the beginning to know what the trauma was and to discover the lies at the roots. The huge part of the process is to re wire those lies back to the truth but looking in deeper detail at HOW they got in there and took root. It is almost like looking for the “Proof” of why I accepted it before I understood how wrong it was. It takes time but it sounds like you are on the path to healing!
p.s. I am going on vacation for 12 days starting now so if I don’t answer comments for a bit please understand. The blog will still be open but I am not going to do much more than check it and approve comments that are held in moderation.


Beloved Darlene !!! Yes ….for me too when i was a harmed Child , I begin to feel just now , that my BIGGEST FEAR was that my PARENTS would REJECT ME if i would have spoken to them the TRUTH , and that it was meaning for me , to tell to them what it was happening to me with my COUSIN, in order to relise a little THIS BIG WEGHT ON MY HEART!!! THIS was my CONSTANT INNER CONFLICT inside me: ” I SPEAK AND I RISK NOT TO BE LOVED NOMORE or it is BETTER to TAKE ALL FOR MYSELF, aND I PLAY LIke nothing it is happening to me , in order to have a little LOVE ???”.But when i was around 12 years old i think, i could not manage to take all this in myself , with speaking with no one , because in that time i gotnmy period for the first time , so arrived another BIG FEAR : ” MY BE NOW I CAN ALSO HAVE A BABY !!! ” …..and this was really too much for me!!!! So the DESPERATE INNER SITUATION , has given to me the COURAGE to SPEAK ALL ….regardless ….And taking all the consequences and risk of this act!!!!And it has been like this ….all the family on the side of my mother , they immediatly DISCRIMINATED ME…..and since that moment they have cut every contact with me and my PARENTS!!!SO i was terrified that now also my mother would have done the same …that means that now also she DOES NOT LOVE ME anymore …..and exactly how you write, REJECTION FOR A CHILD MEANS ” DEATH” !!!! So now i know why i have done what i have done towardsmy mother!!!! I was so in fear that this coud happen to me …..that I was thinking that i STAR FIRST NOT TO LOVE HER …..BELEIVING THAT I WOUD HAVE SUFFERD LESS , WHEN SHE WILL DO!!!But now i now that i have not sufferd less ….was just an ILLUSION. , giving me a possibility to SURVIVE !!! I started to DEPRIVE MYSELF ofvall my FEELINGSVOF LOVE THST I STILL HAD FOR HER …..and at the end i managed really not to have no morevany feeling for her …..so now i also have an explanation why i was not really SUFFERED qhen she DIED suddenly at the age of 49 years old!!!!Now all the picture it is a little more CLEAR about what HAPPENED TO ME and HOW I HAVE BEEN BROKEN ……however i BELIEVE AT YOU when you say that on the other side of BROKEN there is FREEDOM …..but I am not yet THERE …. but i know that there is HOPE for me to arrive there…..and i want to arrive there too!!!!Without that I continue to PROJECT all this pain ON INNOCENTS!!!I really wish with all my heart to STOP qll this!!!!THANKS FOR SHAREING YOUR EXPERIENCE …..it IS SO PRECIOUS FOR ALL OF US …..in order that we DO NOT GIVE UP !!! LOVE AND LIGHT!! Roshani


Thank you for your courage of overcoming your obstacles and for sharing your story with the world. You are an inspiration to anyone who is seeking to free themselves from the emotional damage of their past, and to open themselves up to an emotionally connected life. You clearly explain how you had to shift your perpective in order to do this, and I think that is the most difficult thing that many people just don’t seem to be able to overcome. But with stories of success like yours, people can come to see that they can overcome and don’t have to sit and wallow with their despair and have to just make so with survival for the rest of their days. A good life is possible for anyone, regardless of their past and you are helping to show them the way and for many people to learn how to become assertive and a self advocate and to get out from under their victim cloak which they have been wearing their whole life.


Hi Shawn,
Welcome to emerging from broken
The shift came for me when I finally realized that what happened to me was wrong and that the people who encouraged me to forget about it and invalitate it (including the perps) were wrong too. Yes, it certainly was a shift in my perspective! Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Yes yes yes yes and a resounding yes!!! Oh I needed that read! Thank you : ) although I can say “so what!” no excuses. But then I have the guilt of how I have raised my kids. I have been/am a broken parent. What damage have I done??


I had to see the damage that was caused to me and begin the healing process first, and as I did that, the damage I caused became more clear and I started to make amends for it. The process sort of worked side by side for that part. I had to stop focusing on what a “bad person” I was in order to get out of the pit in the first place by finding out where the whole thing had its roots!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] practices or simply for being an individual. (note: sometimes “not fitting in” is simply the feeling of not being as “good” or as valuable as other siblings or other family […]


darlene, i cant express my own feelings by using a proper english at this late hour. its 2.31 am in italy, :S, but i can tell u this at the moment being: thanx for telling yr life experience cz ur helping me understanding a great many issues. im grateful to u. goodnight.emanuela ricci


Hi Emanuela!
Great to hear from you! there are lots of people in this site that are not english speaking as a first language! No worries, you are not alone in that. I am just happy that you are willing to share!
Hugs, Darlene


Another great article…for the last few years I’ve tried to understand why my parents acted as they did by looking at their own childhoods, which, from what little I know were pretty miserable. While I’m glad I have that information it doesn’t touch on the damage done me….in fact, once again the focus is on THEIR burden their suffering, just like when I was a kid. What about victims of other crime? Someone murders one’s family member, the survivors are supposed to minimize the damage done because the killer’s mother abused him? No we don’t expect that at all, but somehow it’s different with parents, especially mothers.

The bottom line worst effect of my childhood is the poor self-esteem I’ve carried since 6 or so. I remember at 18 talking to the school director at my alternative school, asking him, “Do you think I’m human?” That was how low it was…I knew of course I was human, at least in form, but I felt sub-human. They tore me down without a thought for years, like it was the normal thing to do. They could have told themselves, “What happened to me was so painful, I’ll make sure my own kids don’t suffer that”, but they didn’t—they decided to take their pain out on kids under their control. I can’t excuse that. I don’t care any more that they grew up in a different time either, cause there were good parents back then too, always have been.

I am very sorry for what happened to them, but it wasn’t my fault and I did not deserve to pay for it. And they didn’t treat everyone like that, they were more respectful or polite to strangers or to their own siblings, the rare times they visited. They made a choice to belittle their children and use that power they had which they didn’t have over others.

There is a strong message from my sister and her husband to let go of the past, but I can’t. I know a part of me says, “If I let go of childhood it will be gone and nobody will acknowledge it at all.”
There is an expectation that I keep contact with Mom and I’ve not challenged that in action, because I’ve absorbed so much ‘obligation to the only mother you have’ stuff. My brother in law used to call me asking me almost pleading for me to call Mom, I thought that wasn’t his call, but I was too scared to say so.

I don’t call Mom now at the retirement home, I haven’t sent the second card I bought that I was going to send her, this woman hurt me so much and there is no frickin acknowledgement of it, and I am tired of doing what I’m supposed to do.

It’s just really sick, I have to see the family dynamics for what it is, it’s sick. Who else who would have abused you for years are you expected to send cards too? What is this special dispensation motherhood is supposed to give? So now she’s got dementia and is childlike, that doesn’t wipe away the damage done.

Now as I begin to buck this system by pulling away more from family and its expectations, I face probably what I’ve feared feeling, from within and without—that I am selfish, ‘unappreciative’ and won’t grow up. I find all of this very ironic, because I’m feeling pressure to grow up stop bitching about the past and put myself behind others, which is NOT growing up but continuing the past they love to think is behind them.

That is what I was taught, I was lousy and my (contrary) feelings should never be acknowledged. All the programming in my head is lies, but now at least I can see it for lies. I feel a deep responsibility to myself now to face the discomfort and disapproval and continue advocating for myself, first.



[…] the reckoning process, which must take place before forgiving an abuser is possible, offenses are named and counted. Damage caused by the abuse is assessed and culpability assigned to those responsible for the abuse. […]


[…] would have ended up just like them; dysfunctional, sick, chronically depressed and unhappy. More: To Heal from Emotional Damage Know what the Damage Was :: Emerging From Broken __________________ ChristianDM is my online identity here. I am a psycho-spiritual atheist. My […]


[…] Through understanding this deeper message that my reasons for having difficulty crying had to do with the message that my tears were a burden to others I noticed  that one of my reactions to feeling like I am going to cry is anger. Anger at myself! I have used anger at myself to stop the tears from coming. And this is exactly what my abuser did to me. She used anger and threats of something worse to follow if I didn’t stop crying in order to MAKE me stop crying. […]


I am doing nothing but reading and ingesting and feel like it/s hard to breath. May be the COPD but also feeling so alone in this fog. difficult to function- very shakey.


I do not remember what happened before I started having the nightmares every night for 5 years- (around 2nd grade?) I remember the frightening dream though- the images and the voice of my nightmare and how I felt- frozen in my bed in fear. I remember I had to sing Mary had a little lamb over and over until I fell asleep.



Hi C.
It can be very overwhelming esp. in the beginning. And I too found that healing can be really lonely. Keep hanging in there and be very gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene


Amazing post!!!!! you´re helping me understand so many things about myself and my story, things I´ve been trying to unveil all by myself for so long…
Unvaluable 🙂 Thank you so much


Awesome blog! When you spoke about your father and how he turned the conversation around to talk about him all the time, that’s what my mom does. When she was calling my sister, it was like my sister was some sort of counselor to her (my mom doesn’t believe in counseling neither does my dad) and would bitch to her about our dad.

My sister and her got at it telling mom stop calling me if that’s the case, you were already told this and that, the legalities of the divorce, etc. My mom screamed at her because my sister wouldn’t leave Japan the first time (her hubby is in the Navy) and take 6 mos off (no military allows you to do that) to come help her. My mom yells about how she is so grown and mature plus independent but never wants to get up and do anything.

These ridiculous conversations always result around mom and my dad never about us, their drama and politics was always more important than us and still is today. When you talked about the doctor threatened to get a court order on your parents, my sister’s high school told her how she needed night school for math and it would cost $60 a month. Sister told me on phone how mom was calling him names telling him my daughter won’t work in your daughter’s kitchen, him (counselor) and sister were dumb struck about who’s kitchen?

He was telling mom what my sister needed and she wouldn’t do it. It’s not the first time she has been threaten with CPS, I think the school really should have CPS to force them on taking away all of us growing up, but my parents told NY family court and my high school such wonderful stories about being good parents – can you believe how far a lie goes to the point it sounds like the truth?

I started remembering about my depression. When I was little, I was never depressed always happy. It got worse when we moved to AZ in 96 at age 10 and I was depressed daily talk about being depressed for 18 yrs of your life! I was and still aren’t allowed to have a life, but I am gonna be starting a new job soon. It’s very damaging not allowed to be human with rights, then made into some slave and it’s your parents’ fault for not “being an adult enough to make your own decisions yet we don’t ever want you to be an adult because you are under our control.”

I still have depression, PTSD symptoms, communication issues, etc yet they don’t get why I have these emotional problems and take no responsibility for it. My therapist said it’s not their fault I said yes it is, who’s the damn parent? Who put the child under this severe stress daily? She had nothing to say to that! If you make your kids’ lives miserable for someone who is a parent herself, then you need to take responsibility for making them miserable! I raised my voice at her yet this woman is a therapist!!

“If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying “so what” if my parents were “sick”. They did a lot of damage with their “sickness” and instead of looking at them and making excuses for them, it was time to look at the damage ~ to call it like it is ~ and heal from it. EVEN if it makes them angry; even if it hurts them; even if they rejected me and even though they deny it, lie about it and don’t agree with me or validate my truth. They started covering their butts when I was a baby, why would now be any different? It finally had to be about me or I would have ended up just like them; dysfunctional, sick, chronically depressed and unhappy.”

I agree yet I hear MHPs talk about if it is not fixed, it is ignored yet you don’t seem to help the damn clients that much! My parents covered up everything since we were all born and I tell people why would now be different because we’re grown? Change doesn’t happen over night and they have no intentions of changing either! They did absolutely nothing when kids had a problem with me, mom just talked to them over the phone never came face to face with them to have an adult discussion about it.

They still make up stories about me and sister and anybody else they wanna tell yet things are suppose to change since we are all adults? Really?!?

“The truth is that my parents rejected me when they didn’t take care of me in the first place. They rejected me when they refused to hear me and silenced my voice and instead protected the people hurting me. They rejected me when they called me “dramatic, and a story teller”. They rejected me when the way the rest of the world saw them, was more important than I was. They were still rejecting me in the exact same ways. That is what I had to face. That was the damage.”

Nobody understands why we never had a voice growing up yet we had “such wonderful parents” according to people out there. My sister refused yet she is not even their daughter never was growing up from what she told me. She don’t exist to my parents, well, we never existed as kids since my dad always told single women he has no children. He told my mom all the time how this marriage is a fraud and my mom said then you’re saying your children are a fraud too, he never denied it! Why is she always shocked? Mom said that’s mean of him to do that, he’s been doing that since we were kids so it’s not shocking to us!

“I had to start by facing the damage. The truth is that both my parents were broken. I had to finally say “SO WHAT?” Whatever happened to them did not excuse or make up for what happened to me and knowing about how hard “they had it”, didn’t help me to heal. There was no solution in realizing that my parents were abused and devalued too. There was no solution in knowing that my mother suffered from chronic depression. It didn’t cancel the way that I was treated.”

Agreed. It’s been established they have such serious and severe issues and I have been saying what you said for a very long time, it doesn’t excuse the fact for what they did to us and they had plenty of time in their youth to fix it; but chose not too. This is where I cut my therapist off telling her ‘I don’t need to understand them, are they here right now in these sessions? No, didn’t think so! Why do you keep telling clients they need to “understand their abusers?” Why do you always feel sorry for them (abusers) anyway?”‘ She didn’t like that but oh well!

People have told me how my mom is severely depressed, I said really? She tells people out there how her life is so wonderful and happy that she “divorced my dad years ago (not true they are still married),” how she raised such good kids (again, another lie barely there physically and emotionally always screaming at us), etc. She said I never been depressed (another lie, her sister died before I was born and claims she wasn’t depressed about that or the fact that my grandma and my dad were riding her back), tells all of these tall tales to people.

My parents never wanted to go to family counseling saying ‘(mom saying this) that white people were in it to do us in and tell us what to do. We can figure out our own problems (really?!? I don’t see you making any effort!) we don’t need people like them to tell us what to do we are such a loving family.’ On top of that, she was yelling at me and criticizing me about the high school counselor suggesting we need therapy and she cursed him out too. He did admit to me that they seriously need help and left it at that lol. I’ve had people suggest to me to tell my parents to go to therapy never again will I say that to them knowing you got 2 narcs who know everything, so why would they go to therapy?

“I had to stop running from the truth. I stopped accepting that depression was a “gene” that I was born with and instead, face the roots of my distress. In order to heal, I had to find out how I got broken. What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys to emotional healing were hidden and those were the keys that led to freedom from depression, low self esteem, dissociative identity disorder, and many other issues that I had. Depressions, dissociative identity, illnesses and addictions all manifested in my life as a result of not being protected, emotional neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse and spiritual abuse. The roots of all of these were grounded in being unloved in the true definition of love. Finding and facing the damage led me to learning the truth about my value. Self love and self esteem finally became possible when I faced where the broken began.”

Agreed. I am doing more soul searching since I took some classes at the women’s center. Gotta get going….


Good morning Darlene, I read your post saying that some of the comments from yesterday have disappeared, and I realized that mine was one of hem. So I will try to recreate my comment as best as possible.

Going back to around age eleven, it was a time when I dreaded asking my mother for things I needed, especially for school. Many times she would get angry when I asked for these things. I felt guilty if what I needed was going yo force her yo have to make a trip to the store ( which was less than a mile away) or cost her money (all these things were very inexpensive and would not have been a hardship). I feared punishment. She had Jo problem letting me know how inconvenienced my needs made her. I also remember her saying no to lots of little things
That were school related. One was for a weekly children’s newspaper that was very inexpensive. This was embarrassing to me because every other. Child’s parent paid for it and I had to move my desk next to a classmate to share hers since m mother wouldn’t buy it for me. She wouldn’t buy my class pictures either they were too ugly. There were other things she wouldn’t buy. She thought I should roll up several sheets of toilet paper and use that instead of sanitary pads. And pantyhose with huge runs in them were okay for me to wear yo school but of course hers were all new.

I thought it was fear of punishment that kept me from asking for these needs. Yesterday I pearled off another layer, or maybe more! I dreaded asking for things, not only because of punishment possibilities, but also because I could not trust my mother to use good judgment in meeting my needs. She could not empathize with me. She never considered that some of her denial of things for me lead to embarrassing situations for me, like ripped stockings and not being adequately protected for my monthly flow. I could not trust my mother to say yes to basic needs. If it inconvenienced her or cost a small amount of money she would say no. And what did this say to me? I felt unworthy. I didn’t deserve these basic things yet did provided them for herself and also closets full of new clothes for herself. So I felt that Iwasnt valuable enough to obtain even the basics.

I now believe that my fear of asking for things was not only a fear of punishment. It was also a fear of being devalued and rejected. Of not being worth enough to be given some very basic things.


Hi Amber
Thanks for coming back! It was your first post that alerted me that something was wrong because you came in as a first time commenter!

Yay for peeling off more and more layers! I am so sorry that this all happened to you, but at the same time it was the realizing it and validating to myself that those things were WRONG and not my fault that set me free ~ that was the truth that was the path to getting my life back!
Thank you so much for sharing, I came to the same conclusions about all my fears of ‘asking’ too. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Hi. I have very few memories of my childhood. Seems I blocked most of it. I don’t think my childhood was that bad… but why block it at all? This bothers me, yet I’m scared to know WHY I guess. One of my first memories was of my Mother ODing on “migraine” meds. My Father was a VERY distant man. But that’s no worse than others have had it.
I’m recently divorced (2nd time, same man) and realize I allowed myself to be mentally and emotionally abused. I apologized if it was raining and he had plans. The last 4yrs of marriage I stayed in a bedroom and only came out to cook, wash his clothes and clean. He was a serial cheater and I always found out. No job, no car no self-esteem to strike out on my own then. I live alone now. My parents are deceased and my son lives 2hrs away… my daughter and granddaughter live with my EX. I feel I have no one. I was in his family for 30+ years and I lost them too.
What I want to try to understand is why am I like this? I have no insurance for a Dr. Any suggestions on what I do to try to be a stronger person. I work. I’m around people. But they, nor me for that matter, know the REAL me. I wear a public mask I’ve mastered from years of hiding.
I read every ones stories of getting it all together but I can’t seem to get there.


Hi JusMe
Welcome to EFB! ~ Please keep reading; there is so much info and insight in these pages about what you are looking for. For me, the key to the present was in the past and I write about how I found all the answers that I have today. I also live in freedom and wholeness which I never thought possible but it was!!
It takes time so don’t push too hard but you can have what others here have found too!
hugs, Darlene


One of my main issues is feeling not worth crap, and then becoming a calm voice around my parents, and my own home. On my second marriage. He sure the heck isn’t as abusive as my first, and not physically abusive at all, like my first was. However, I have discovered that I have let him get by too long with getting his way, and me not using my “voice”. It’s the pattern I’ve been in since a kid. Now all of a sudden I’m letting him and my mother know that I’m tired, actually exhausted and don’t want step on any more. It’s hard. Now I’m looked at as a “bitch” or “moody” or asked, “when is your period”……then I start feeling guilty because I’m trying to stand up for me.


DivaB, I think people act nasty when we start standing up for ourselves because they see themselves losing their uncontested position at the top of the pecking order. They thrived by treating us like we weren’t as valuable as them, and we internalized that feeling of lacking value, and it became a self fulfilling prophecy. When we contest that by standing up for ourselves they feel they have to do or say whatever they can to try to put us back on the lower rung. I try to keep asserting myself with people like this. A reasonable person would make the effort to see my point of view. With unreasonable people, there comes a time of decision on whether the relationship is worth keeping. I find I am starting to let the unreasonable ones go.


Darlene, I just finished reading a book about Rosemary Kennedy, the daughter that ended up being lobotomized under the auspices of her own father in order to silence her voice. It is scary to think of how little things have changed and how brave you are to help people to know and understand what their rights are. I have had moment s of sheer terror at the thought of being involuntarily commmited, something that once was put into my head by my NM along with the fact that I could somehow become homeless. Now, these messages were conveyed to me during the rare moment that I was making myself vulnerable by sharing my innermost thoughts with her. I was also told that I am dyslexi, which may explain my prior difficulty in primary school and all the way to college, which is another way I feel like a failure, since nothing really came of my degree, even though I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps to get it and nearly killed myself to pay it off. Anyways, I could relate a bit to Rosemary’s vulnerable position in her family. I feel like in retrospect I tried to overcompensate and prove my worth by getting a degree, but lo and behold have yet to have found a way to apply my degree to the real world. I am also looking at the reality of possibly having to go on disability as I have been out of the workforce due to extenuating circumstances. In short, I feel like I am on the losing end of life. I try to hard not to try so hard and I am tired of hurting. I do draw a lot of strength from this new tribe that you are creating. I have put out many comments and would really appreciate a response. Thanks.

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